Engaging in social media activity while driving can have catastrophic consequences, but many negligent motorists continue to follow this dangerous driving behavior.
Recent statistics only reinforce this reality. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people from all age groups are spending more time online while behind the wheel. You may be able to seek compensation if you were injured in a car accident because of another driver indulging in social media activity while driving. A stellar and winning car accident attorney can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Checking Social Media While Driving can Cause Severe Accidents
There are three broad types of distracted driving phenomena listed by the CDC:
- Visual: When your eyes are not on the road.
- Manual: When your hands are not on the wheel.
- Cognitive: When your mind is not on the task of driving.
When you use your phone to check social media feeds, you are engaged in all three types of distracted driving. Your hands are on your device, your eyes are on the phone, and your mind is engaged with what you are looking to post. While posting pictures you are essentially distracted when clicking a photograph and while uploading it.
Statistics Reveal the Extent of Distracted Driving and Social Media Use
Young people are the most concerning group of drivers in terms of social media use behind the wheel. As per a recent study by the NHTSA, there has been a 3.5% increase in drivers using their cell phones while driving compared to the previous year. However, the report also shows that young drivers are not the only ones to blame.
There is a 2% year-on-year increase in drivers between the age groups 25 and 69 in terms of cell phone-related distracted driving. Many drivers over the age of 69 are also engaged in cell phone use while driving. These official figures represent an alarming trend and point to a growing problem on the roads every day.
Nearly 40% of all motorists use social media almost on a regular basis when driving. A study by AT&T found that 70% of drivers are highly likely to send an email, text, or go through their social media feed when behind the wheel.
Social Media Evidence in Car Accident Claims
Pictures and videos taken by eyewitnesses are usually the most common form of digital evidence used in auto accident claims. These pictures and videos can be used for determining the position of different vehicles, the speed of the cars, and the actions of all individuals involved in the accident.
Witnesses also provide information that may have resulted in the accident, such as following too closely or speeding. This is helpful in establishing fault in a car accident. Your personal injury attorney may use social media evidence to prove the reckless and negligent actions of the other party.
For instance, the lawyer may request records that show the driver was posting something on Instagram just before their vehicle rear-bumped into yours. An experienced attorney can use posts and other digital evidence to prove the at-fault driver was distracted at the time of the car crash. There may be similar posts from other occupants in the vehicle indicating that the driver was not paying attention when the accident occurred.
Social media posts can be used for proving the driver was negligent and knew the potential risks of their actions. Social media posts and other evidence can also be used for showing the responsibility level of the other party. For instance, if the other party was using drugs or drinking before the car accident, their social media may have a few pictures of them at the bar.
This evidence can be used by a competent attorney to demonstrate the other party’s level of carelessness and the amount of compensation entitled to the plaintiff.
Liability for Car Accidents Caused by Drivers Using Social Media
There is some form of legal ban on distracted driving in all 44 states and Washington DC. These bans differ in the fines and penalties that are assessed. In some states, distracted driving is a primary offense, while it is considered a secondary offense in others. However, there is an ongoing debate where critics say that individual states can do more to reduce cell phone use behind the wheel.
Drivers that check their social media feed when behind the wheel increase the risk of:
- Swerving into other lanes.
- Jumping curbs.
- Ignoring stop signs and traffic lights.
- Failing to stop in time.
Many drivers that don’t use social media while driving make an exception when at a red light or stuck in traffic. As per the Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this is unsafe behavior. A shocking number of accidents take place at intersections because of decision errors.
Choose a Dedicated Auto Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident because of a distracted driver using social media, the experienced and proven attorneys at Fox Injury Law can help. Our attorneys realize the severity of your injuries and are committed to holding the at-fault parties responsible. To schedule your free consultation, call us today or fill out our contact form.