Distracted Driving Accidents in Washington DC
Distracted driving in Washington DC, is a very real problem with very serious consequences. Washington’s road system has many traffic circles, one-way streets and tight passage areas. There is often a great deal of road congestion and there are typically many tourists and visitors who don’t always know where they are going. A great deal of concentration is required to drive safely on these streets. Activities such as texting while driving or using a cell phone can divert a driver’s attention and lead to tragic distracted driving accidents.
Despite the known dangers of distracted driving, many motorists in Washington DC, choose to do it anyway. This can lead to car accidents that cause serious injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted driving accident and got injured because someone else didn’t pay attention, talk to the Washington DC, car accident attorneys at The Abelson Law Firm. Please contact us online for a free consultation.
Distracted Driving Laws in Washington DC
Washington DC, has imposed strict laws to cut down on the number of distracted driving accidents. In the District of Columbia, drivers are not permitted to use handheld cell phones while operating a vehicle. You are allowed to use a cellular phone with a hands-free device, and you can dial the phone as long as you are not considered a novice driver. Novice drivers are entirely prohibited from using cellphones while driving. Text messaging is also entirely banned for all drivers.
These are considered “primary offenses” in the District of Columbia, which means that a police officer can pull a driver over and give him or her a ticket just for talking on a cell phone even when there are no other moving violations.
Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
Although Washington DC’s laws aim to prevent accidents related to distracted driving, these accidents still happen all the time. Distracted driving accidents can occur because of:
- People violating the laws and talking on their cell phone or texting while driving.
- Individuals who are using hands-free devices in accordance with the law but who are still distracted and not paying full attention to driving.
- Drivers paying attention to passengers in the vehicle with them (especially children) instead of to the road.
- Eating or drinking behind the wheel.
- Motorists focusing on a GPS navigation system or other tech devices.
- Drivers adjusting the music such as changing a CD or switching the radio station.
- Drivers picking up dropped objects within the vehicle.
- Drivers reading maps or other documents.
The consequences of these behaviors are real and they are felt throughout the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were about 448,000 people injured and 5,747 people killed in the U.S. in 2009 because of accidents caused, at least in part, by distracted drivers. Click here for more facts and statistics on distracted driving.
What Happens After a D.C. Distracted Driving Accident?
Under Washington DC, car accident laws, each driver is required to carry no-fault insurance / personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. The victims of all car accidents will obtain compensation from their no fault insurer for injuries arising from car accidents, as long as those accidents are not serious or otherwise fall within exceptions to the no-fault rules.
When a D.C. distracted driving accident causes serious injuries, the driver who was to blame for the accident can be held responsible through a personal injury claim. Serious injuries are defined as those that are disfiguring or cause permanent scarring, as well as those injuries that cause damage in excess of the available PIP coverage.
Distracted driving accidents often cause serious injuries because the drivers involved are not paying attention enough to try to avoid or minimize a crash. It is common for a D.C. distracted driving accident to give rise to a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury damages can include compensation for pain and suffering and other losses not covered by PIP, so it is a good idea to confer with a Washington DC car accident attorney about whether your case may fall within an exception to no-fault rules.
Proving Distracted Driving in Washington DC
If your injuries are serious enough to make a personal injury claim based on a distracted driving accident, you will need to show that the driver who caused the car crash was negligent. You can do this in one of two ways: you can show that a hypothetical reasonable person would have used greater care or you can show that the driver violated a safety law such as the law banning driving while using a cell phone.
Our D.C. auto accident lawyer can assist you in determining what the best method of proving negligence. To learn more about your legal rights or about how our Washington DC distracted driving accident lawyer can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve, get in touch with The Abelson Law Firm, today you can contact us online for a free consultation.