decatur distracted driving

If a distracted driver injured you or someone you love, the Decatur car accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are ready to help you pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses.

Our team has more than 50 years of combined experience, and we have helped our clients recover more than $125 million in compensation. We know how destructive a distracted driving accident can be and want to assist you in finding a way forward.

Contact us today for a free consultation with a distracted driving car accident lawyer in Decatur, Alabama.

What Is Distracted Driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving happens when you perform another activity that takes your attention away from driving and what is happening around you. Distracted driving dramatically increases a motorist’s chances of causing a crash. Distracted driving crashes can cause more severe injuries than other types of accidents since distracted drivers often fail to take evasive actions such as braking and swerving.

The CDC list three main types of driver distractions:

  1. Visual – A visual distraction takes your eyes off the road. Visual distractions are dangerous because they prevent you from seeing oncoming dangers and what other drivers around you are doing.
  2. Manual – A manual distraction takes one or both hands off the steering wheel. Manual distractions are dangerous because it is harder to avoid an incoming hazard without both hands on the wheel.
  3. Cognitive – A cognitive distraction blocks you from concentrating on driving. Cognitive distractions are especially hazardous because you may not realize the potential danger you are in if you are not focused on driving.

How Common Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving accidents are increasingly common in Alabama and across the United States. Here are some statistics to give you some idea of how widespread the problem is:

  • In a recent year, 57 deaths were related to distracted driving accidents in Alabama, according to the state Department of Transportation.
  • About 3,000 people nationwide die in distracted driving crashes every year, according to the CDC. Furthermore, the CDC says about 1 in 5 people killed in distracted driving collisions is not a driver or passenger. Instead, they are pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that if you are driving at 55 mph, in the five seconds it typically takes to read a text message, your car will travel the length of a football field.

Decatur Accidents Resulting from Driver Distraction

Distracted driving can lead to many kinds of accidents, including:

  • Rear-end collisions – Distracted drivers are much more likely to hit vehicles in front of them because they don’t see other cars slowing or stopping.
  • T-bone collisions – A distracted driver might blow through an intersection and collide with other vehicles traveling through the intersection.
  • Sideswipe collisions – Distracted drivers frequently drift in their lanes because they are not watching what they are doing, do not have both hands on the wheel, or both. These behaviors make it much more likely that distracted drivers will collide with vehicles beside them.
  • Head-on collisions – A distracted driver could swerve into oncoming traffic and collide with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
  • Pedestrian accidents – Pedestrians can be difficult to see when a motorist is not distracted, especially at night. Avoiding a pedestrian crossing the street becomes much more challenging if you are distracted.
  • Bicycle accidents – Cyclists also have a smaller profile than cars, making them harder to see. Distracted drivers will have a more challenging time identifying and avoiding cyclists in their path.

About Alabama’s Texting While Driving Law

According to the Alabama Department of Transportation and the state Driver’s Manual, state law bans anyone from using “wireless devices” to read, send, or write a text message or email while driving. Furthermore, drivers 18 and younger are prohibited from using a cell phone except in limited circumstances, such as to summon emergency assistance.

Under a new hands-free law enacted in 2023, Alabama now also outlaws the use of handheld cell phones to make telephone calls behind the wheel. The law makes it illegal to drive while physically holding or supporting a wireless communications device with any part of the body. The law also prohibits the use of hands-free devices that require more than the press of a single button or a single finger swipe to begin or end a call.

Alabama’s distracted driving law also prohibits drivers from watching, recording, or broadcasting videos while driving. The law makes an exception for the use of GPS navigation. Voice-to-text messages are also permitted.

Alabama law enforcement officers were scheduled to begin ticketing drivers in June 2024 after a year of issuing warnings for violations while motorists became aware of the new law, according to a report from CBS 42 News in Birmingham.

Options After a Distracted Driving Wreck

If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, it is up to the police to ticket or arrest the other driver. But regardless of whether the other driver is charged, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries from negligent drivers and their insurers.

Most distracted driving cases begin with an insurance claim against the other driver. Negotiating an insurance settlement means you and the other driver can avoid the expense and risk involved in going to trial. But if the insurance company will not negotiate in good faith, you may have to take them to court to recover the money you need. Working with a distracted driving accident lawyer gives you a greater chance of recovering compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit.

If you can prove your insurance claim or win a civil trial, you can recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lowered quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Damaged personal property

Talk to a lawyer right away if you have been injured in an accident, as you only have two years from the date of your injuries to file a lawsuit over a car crash in Alabama. If you miss this deadline, you will lose your chance to claim compensation.

How Our Decatur Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help

Our team can help you pursue compensation for your losses in a distracted driving car crash by:

  • Investigating the accident to identify all liable parties
  • Finding evidence to show how the other driver is responsible for your injuries
  • Documenting the full extent of your injuries and financial losses related to the crash
  • Filing an insurance claim promptly
  • Negotiating for an insurance settlement on your behalf
  • Bringing your case to civil court, if necessary

How to Be Prepared for Your Commute to Avoid Distractions

You can do a few things to reduce your chances of being involved in a Decatur distracted driving crash.

These 7 steps to safe driving include:

  1. Never use a phone while driving unless you need emergency assistance.
  2. Never text while driving.
  3. Keep your phone out of reach to minimize the temptation to use it.
  4. Eat or drink before you start your drive.
  5. Create a music playlist before you leave so you are not distracted by fiddling with in-vehicle controls.
  6. Keep your music at a reasonable volume so you can hear what is going on around you.
  7. Install anti-distracted driving apps on your phone.

Contact an Experienced Distracted Driving Attorney in Decatur, AL, Today

The team at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., is committed to helping people injured in distracted driving accidents in Decatur, Alabama, find a way forward. If you have been hurt in a distracted driving accident, contact us today to speak with a Decatur car accident lawyer.