Factors that contribute to distracted driving accidents

Contributory factors

You see distracted drivers on Maine roads every day. The most obvious example is the driver who is preoccupied with a phone call instead of paying attention to their surroundings, including other cars, cyclists and pedestrians. But the problem goes beyond people who cannot seem to detach their phones from their ears. In a Consumer Reports survey, 52 percent of drivers admitted to using their hands to:

  • Play music on a smartphone
  • Access a web browser
  • Write, send or read an email or text
  • Watch videos on their phone

In 2019, Maine passed a law prohibiting drivers from holding, handling, or using cellphones behind the wheel — unless otherwise connected to a hands-free device or used for emergency purposes. This means an operator of a motor vehicle cannot manipulate, talk into or interact with a mobile telephone or handheld electronic device. Fines range from $50 for the first offense to $250 for the second or subsequent offense.

It’s easy to forget, too, that distracted driving is not new and not totally related to the latest technology. Drivers have been distracted for as long as cars have been on the road, whether they are looking at passengers while talking to them or watching someone or something on the side of the road. Other motorists have caused accidents while reading, applying makeup, shaving, eating and adjusting the radio or temperature controls.

Other ‘old-fashioned’ dangers

There are many other “old-fashioned” causes of accidents that also have existed for as long as people have sat behind the steering wheel. Some of them include:

  • Failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian
  • Reckless driving, including driving at night without lights and other dangerous behaviors
  • Equipment malfunctions, especially non-operational headlights or tail lights
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Improper turns
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Drowsy driving
  • Weather conditions
  • Tire blowouts
  • Animal crossings

New or old problem – you need a solution

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident caused by another motorist, you are dealing with a series of issues. You may be badly injured, requiring a long period of recovery that means you cannot work or support your family. And there are legal and insurance questions. Chief among them is who will be held responsible for the accident. It’s unlikely that the other driver is going to admit they are at fault. In fact, he or she probably will blame you. That’s when your case gets bogged down in a battle of your word against theirs. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s also easy to make an honest mistake, like trusting an insurance company, that comes back to haunt you.

The car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein have been handling cases like yours for nearly 50 years. With seven offices throughout Maine – in Sanford, Biddeford, Portland, Windham, Lewiston, Augusta and Bangor – our team of over 40 legal professionals has served more than 25,000 Mainers in their quest for justice and a fair financial settlement. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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