Smartphones may have forever changed the landscape of how we communicate with one another, but there are times when a person should avoid using a smartphone; specifically, when driving. Distracted driving is a very real problem in West Virginia, Kentucky and in all other states in the nation. It is important to understand how a distracted driver can cause a motor vehicle accident.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day around nine people lose their lives and over 1,000 are injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver. Motorists operating a vehicle at 55 miles per hour who take their eyes off the road for a mere five seconds to read or send a text is the same as driving blindfolded for the length of a football field. People may think a quick check of their smartphone is harmless, but it is actually quite dangerous. Distracted driving accidents injure and kill people every day.

Texting and driving impairs a motorist in three ways. First, if motorists are looking at their cellphones, their eyes are off the road, impairing their vision. Second, if motorists are sending or replying to a text, their hands are off the wheel of the car, impairing them manually. Third, reading, composing or sending a text takes a motorist’s attention off the task of driving, impairing the driver cognitively. When these three impairments combine, it is easy to see how distracted driving accidents can occur.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who think they are the exception to the rules and will engage in texting and driving or other distracting behaviors. In general, distracted driving breaches a motorist’s duty of care to drive in a manner that is reasonable under the circumstances. Should a person cause a distracted driving accident that harms another person, they could be found negligent. A subsequent legal filing could be one way to help victims of distracted driving accidents obtain the financial compensation they need to move on from the accident, as well as feel a sense that justice has been done.