Home Advice Legal Consequences of Distracted Driving: Penalties and Liability

Legal Consequences of Distracted Driving: Penalties and Liability

Legal Consequences of Distracted Driving: Penalties and Liability
Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev: https://www.pexels.com/

Distracted driving is a significant problem on the roads, leading to countless accidents and fatalities each year. In recent years, lawmakers have implemented stricter penalties for distracted driving, recognizing the dangers it poses. In this article, we will explore the legal consequences of distracted driving, including penalties and liability. 

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can be broken down into three main categories: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction occurs when a driver takes their eyes off the road, such as to look at their phone. Manual distraction happens when a driver takes their hands off the wheel, such as to eat or drink. 

Cognitive distraction is when a driver’s mind is not fully focused on driving, such as when they are having a conversation with a passenger.

Penalties for Distracted Driving

The penalties for distracted driving vary by state and can be severe. In most states, a first offense of distracted driving will result in a fine, with the amount depending on the state’s laws. In some states, a first offense may also result in points on the driver’s license. Points can lead to higher insurance rates and even license suspension if a driver accumulates too many.

Repeat offenders can face much harsher penalties. In some states, a second offense can result in a higher fine, points on the driver’s license, and even jail time. If a distracted driver causes an accident that results in injury or death, they may face criminal charges, including vehicular manslaughter or homicide.

Liability for Distracted Driving Accidents

When a distracted driver causes an accident, they can be held liable for any damages or injuries that result. This includes damage to property, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, the distracted driver may be found to be at fault for the accident, even if they did not cause it directly. For example, if a driver is texting and driving and rear-ends another car, they may be found to be at fault, even if the other driver was also at fault.

If a distracted driver is found to be liable for an accident, they will be responsible for paying any damages or compensation awarded to the victims. This can be a significant financial burden, especially if the accident results in serious injuries or death.

Preventing Distracted Driving

The best way to avoid the legal consequences of distracted driving is to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are several steps drivers can take to minimize distractions while driving:

  • Put away the phone: One of the biggest distractions while driving is using a phone. Drivers should put their phones away or use hands-free technology if they need to make a call or send a message.
  • Avoid eating and drinking: Drivers should avoid eating or drinking while behind the wheel. If they need to eat or drink, they should pull over to a safe location.
  • Focus on the road: Drivers should stay focused on the road and avoid distractions such as passengers, music, or other activities that take their attention away from driving.
  • Plan ahead: Drivers should plan their routes and allow enough time to reach their destination without feeling rushed. This can help reduce the urge to multitask while driving.

Contact a Lawyer

Distracted driving is a serious problem that can lead to accidents, injuries, and even death. The legal consequences of distracted driving can be severe, including fines, points on a driver’s license, and even criminal charges in some cases. To avoid these consequences, drivers should take steps to minimize distractions while behind the wheel. 

By staying focused on the road and avoiding distractions, drivers can help keep themselves and others safe while on the road. Contact the GKBM professional team for help.

Featured Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev: https://www.pexels.com/

Kerry L. Tucker

Early in his journalism college years, Kerry Tucker had a revelation: there were not nearly enough law communicators. Peoples’ difficulties in understanding the law, procedures, and how the justice system worked stemmed from the fact that no one took the patience to explain complicated matters to them. Therefore, he took upon him the task of helping people navigate legal matters easier. He works with attorneys and other legal journalists, and spends time doing research so that everyone – from a mother whose child got a bike injury to a company needing insurance counsel – to find the actionable answers they are looking for.