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Green Bay, WI distracted driver liability attorneyDistracted driving poses a great threat to users of American roadways, especially with the prevalent use of cell phones and other mobile devices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2018, distracted driving was involved in almost 3,000 fatalities throughout the United States, but due to the challenge of identifying distracted driving, the actual number could be significantly higher. In an effort to decrease the number of car accidents, injuries, and fatalities, Wisconsin has enacted a number of state laws aimed at deterring dangerous distracted driving behavior.

Wisconsin Distracted Driving Laws

The State of Wisconsin recognizes that distracted driving is not limited to cell phone use, but rather includes any behavior that can interfere with attentive driving, such as reading, eating, personal grooming, or interacting with a passenger. Specifically, Wisconsin law prohibits:

  • Any driver from engaging in an activity that detracts from the safe operation of a vehicle. This broad statement accounts for a variety of behaviors that a police officer may detect.
  • Any driver from typing or sending by hand a text message or e-mail, with few exceptions.
  • Any driver with a probationary license or learner’s permit from using a mobile phone in any way, except to report an emergency.
  • Any driver of a commercial motor vehicle from operating a mobile phone by hand.
  • Any driver from using a mobile phone in any way, except to report an emergency, in a construction or work zone.
  • Any driver from viewing video communication or entertainment on a mobile phone or another electronic device.

As recently as the fall of 2019, Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced legislation that would prohibit handheld mobile phone use for all drivers except for in an emergency, though no such law has yet been passed. It is also important to note that any form of distracted driving can be considered negligence because it endangers other drivers, and if a distracted driver causes an accident resulting in injuries or fatalities, the affected parties can pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver in civil court. In cases involving death, the distracted driver may also face charges of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle.

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Appleton reckless driving car accident lawyerOn Sunday, March 17th, 2019, two people were fatally injured in a car accident in Jackson, Wisconsin. The accident occurred when a 52-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle as he drove on Country Highway NN, swerved into the other lane, and collided with another vehicle. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. While investigations are ongoing, members of the Washington County Sheriff's Department believe that speed was a factor in the collision. 

Throughout the United States, speeding is one of the most common forms of reckless driving that can lead to dangerous or deadly car accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you should contact an attorney immediately.  

Common Forms of Reckless Driving

When a person makes the negligent decision to drive recklessly, they are putting all other travelers at risk. Some of the most dangerous forms of reckless driving include: 

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Wisconsin auto accident lawyersThe average text takes about five seconds to create and send. If traveling at 55 miles per hour in a vehicle, that means your eyes have been off the road long enough to travel the length of a football field. Of course, since your eyes are not on the road, that is like driving through the field blindfolded. If you imagine an obstacle course on that field, it is not difficult to see why texting and driving is so problematic. Yet many people do it. Tennessee is cracking down and taking a heavy-handed approach.

Just How Big is the Problem?

In 2014, more than 3, 000 people were killed in an automobile accident involving a distracted driver. Another 431, 000 were injured. Of course, the problem is much bigger. After all, not every incident of distracted driving leads to an accident. To determine just how big this problem is, one must look at self-reporting, which is fairly unreliable. In fact, while only one-third of drivers admit to texting themselves, at least two-thirds say they have seen others doing it. This is not surprising.

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Wisconsin distracted driver accident attorneysThe use of cellphones while driving often dominate the distracted driving conversations, but according to a recent study, it is not the most dangerous behind the wheel activity. In fact, cell phone use behind the wheel, while still dangerous, only came in second place in the statistical analysis of the most common accident-causing distractions. The greatest risk, which accounted for more than half of all distracted driving accidents (57 percent), was conversations with passengers.

Why Passenger Conversations Are Dangerous

Communication is a complex, multi-layered human interaction. As such, there are multiple reasons that a passenger-driver conversation increases the risk of accident. Conversation often relies heavily on body language, so drivers often turn to look at the speaker, taking their eyes off the road. They are splitting their attention between the road and the conversation, and studies have shown that the brain is not quite as good at multitasking as most people think, so they are less apt to notice potential risks ahead. Emotional conversations can make driving difficult, and unexpected news can further pull the driver into the conversation. All of these reasons, and more, put drivers and passengers at risk.

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Wisconsin personal injury attorneys, distracted driving accidentAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. In fact, distracted driving is estimated to injure more than 1, 153 people and kill more than nine others in the United States each day. Unfortunately, drivers seem to be missing the point because an alarming 70 percent of drivers still admit to using their smartphones while driving. Emerging technologies hope to change that trend.

The Read-Aloud Message App

Most driving applications block incoming messages, but messageLOUD is designed to read your emails and text messages out loud. Customizable, bluetooth compatible, and designed for one time sign-in and setup, it is offered at an affordable subscription price. You can even set up customizable autoresponder messages for all your text messages. Whether or not it will be successful at curbing the desire to pick up the phone has yet to be determined, however, and it is exactly why the developer of another technology is taking matters one step further.

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