With the widespread use of smartphones, distracted driving has become an increasingly common problem in Washington, DC. Talking while driving was already dangerous, but now people are glued to their phones at all times. Texting, emailing, instant messaging, or browsing on a mobile phone while driving takes a driver’s hands, eyes, and attention off the road. Accidents caused by distracted drivers are rapidly overtaking even drunk driving as one of the leading cause of serious injuries on DC roads.
A Washington, DC texting while driving accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help you navigate the complexities of a legal claim following an accident. We have decades of experience in personal injury law in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We know how to pursue personal injury cases caused by distracted drivers. We will investigate your claim, collect the necessary evidence, negotiate your case with insurance companies and take your case to trial if necessary.
When we get behind the wheel of a car, we are quietly putting our trust into other drivers. We trust that motorists will drive carefully. We trust that truck drivers are properly trained and can handle the size of the vehicle they are driving. And, we trust that drivers, both in passenger vehicles and commercial trucks, will put their focus solely on the road.
This isn’t always the case on Washington DC’s roadways. It is becoming more common for people to drive distractedly, especially using their phones while behind the wheel. Texting while driving accidents led to over 3,000 deaths in 2019. According to the National Safety Council, 13.4% of those fatalities were directly caused by cell phone use. Reading a text message for five seconds while driving is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. So much can happen in those five seconds, including horrific car accidents.
There are many types of car and truck accidents that can happen due to texting and driving, causing about 280,000 injuries per year. The types of accidents include:
Unfortunately, Washington DC has seen its share of car and truck accidents in the District due to texting while driving. In response, DC passed the Distracted Driving Safety Act of 2004, which makes it illegal for motorists to use their phones or other electronic devices while they are behind the wheel unless the phone has a hands free feature. Washington DC residents spend 6.9% of driving time on their phones, while sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists. Nearly 1 in 3 DC traffic deaths involved a pedestrian or someone on a bike in 2020.
Washington DC and the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland are also trucking route hubs. Thousands of tractor trailers, tow trucks, and commercial trucks travel on I-66, I-495, and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. While it’s dangerous for any motorist to allow themselves to get distracted behind the wheel, it is particularly dangerous for a truck driver to take their eyes off the road to text while driving.
The weight and size of a tractor trailer far outweighs a typical vehicle. Cyclists and pedestrians don’t have the structure of a vehicle to protect them if they are involved in an accident with a truck. In fact, the total deaths of truck drivers involved in accidents were less than 700. The total deaths of car drivers involved in truck accidents were over 2,700. That is a 25% difference. A truck driver runs the risk of severely injuring or killing DC residents if they allow themselves to be distracted because they are texting while driving.
By far, the biggest offender of texting while driving are teen drivers and young adults. The CDC states that 25% of the distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were ages 20-29. 9% of all teen drivers who died in a car crash were killed in crashes that involved distracted drivers. If you are a teen or the parent of a teen, the best thing to do to prevent your children, your friends, and yourself from distracted driving is to lead by example. Simply do not text and drive. It is truly not worth it. Speak up when you can. Let everyone know how dangerous it is to text while driving.
While truck drivers are not statistically as careless about texting while driving as some DC teens are, truck drivers are driving a more dangerous vehicle than most teen drivers. A loaded tractor trailer weighs about 23 times more than an average sedan. Even though most cars are equipped with crumple zones, being involved in an accident with a loaded tractor trailer can lead to life-threatening and life-altering injuries. Truck drivers need to be aware of the road at all times, and cannot afford to allow themselves to be distracted by text messages.
While a motorist is more likely to sustain a major injury when involved in an accident with a truck, the type of injury you can sustain from any motor vehicle accident can be life threatening and leave you permanently debilitated. The most common injuries you can get from texting and driving car and truck accidents are:
No, you cannot be held liable for texting a driver even if you know they are driving. A passenger who is present in the vehicle with the driver can be held liable for distracting a driver. However, a remote text message sender does not have first hand knowledge of the circumstances of the driver and has no ability to control what the driver does. Therefore, if a remote sender sends a text message to a driver who then gets into an accident while reading or responding to it, the remote sender cannot be held responsible.
Yes, there are exceptions. If you have a hands free device, such as a bluetooth, you may use that as long as your eyes and focus can remain on the road. Drivers are allowed to use their cell phones in certain emergency situations to dial 911 or 311. If the driver pulls over safely, they may use their cell phone while their vehicle is stopped.
Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland are three of the five jurisdictions who use contributory negligence law. This law states that if you have any responsibility in an accident, even a small percentage, then you cannot claim compensation. Speak to a Regan Zambri Long texting while driving accident lawyer today for a free consultation regarding your case. They will give you a reasonable assessment of your claim and help you determine if the evidence in your case will render a claim in your favor.
While you cannot control other people’s behavior on DC roadways, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers while driving. These measures may prevent an accident or lessen the impact of the accident on your vehicle:
Regan Zambri Long is a leading DC law firm that has national recognition and respect. The texting while driving lawyers are experts in DC law, court system, and various insurance policies. The attorneys witness, on a daily basis, the effects of car and truck accidents on victims. They work closely with families who lost a loved one and families whose lives were forever changed because their loved one is permanently debilitated following an accident.
A texting while driving accident attorney will gather the evidence from the scene of the accident, including the police report, witness testimonies, videos, and pictures. All the evidence they collect will be used to prove negligence of the driver so you can recover the maximum compensation. Washington DC insurance companies are notorious for offering low settlements to car accident victims. Often, these settlements will not cover all the sudden medical expenses, personal property damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A Regan Zambri Long texting while driving attorney will make sure all expenses are covered – because that’s what you deserve.
The accident attorneys are experts in DC trucking laws, which are different from regular passenger vehicles. They have the financial backing to go after large trucking companies and their insurance carriers, so you can rest assured your attorney will be with you until the very end.
In the worst situations, victims of car and truck accidents suffer the death of a loved one. When that happens, your Regan Zambri Long driving accident attorney will pursue a wrongful death claim. They understand that they cannot change what happened to you or your family, but they can make sure they work to secure financial compensation so your only focus can be on physical and emotional recovery. Regan Zambri Long texting while driving accident attorneys do not work on a retainer. That means you will not have to pay your driving accident attorney unless a settlement or verdict is reached in your favor.