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Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
(833) 997-1774

More than 220 million people in the U.S. currently have wireless service. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of these people use their phones while they are driving. According to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 3,100 people are killed each year in distracted driving accidents, and another 424,000 are injured.

Despite these numbers – and the barrage of education and public information shared with drivers about the perils of using their electronic devices while driving, these numbers continue to increase each year. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers understand the devastation these accidents can have on victims and their families, which is why we work diligently to get our injured clients the financial compensation they deserve.

What Happens When a Driver Engages in a Distracted Driving Activity?

What many of these drivers do not appreciate is the impact that engaging in distracted driving behaviors has on their ability to focus on the road in front of them. When a driver uses their smartphone, that activity interferes with the three factors needed to safely drive, causing:

  • Visual distraction: Takes the driver’s eyes off the road
  • Cognitive distraction: Keeps the mind from fully focusing on the road
  • Manual distraction: Takes the driver’s hands off the wheel

These alarming statistics have led many states to pass laws that aim at stopping cell phone use while driving. In Virginia, it is a primary violation for a driver to use their cell phone to check text messages, email, social media, etc. Some states have even gone so far as to ban hand-held cell phone use completely, even for talking.

But one factor that lawmakers may have to address in the future is the use of Smartwatches. A Smartwatch is a “wearable computer” that looks like a wristwatch. Although it tells time like a regular watch, smartwatches also allow the wearer to check and respond to text messages, social media updates, emails, and alerts of incoming calls on their cell phones. Smartwatches even have the ability to operate GPS and play music.

Multiple Studies Warn Against Smartphones and Distracted Driving

Many drivers assume smartphones are safer than smartphones because the features are voice-activated, but multiple studies have shown that hands-free devices are just as hazardous as handheld ones because the driver’s attention is still being taken from the road.

One issue that may make smartwatches more dangerous than smartphones is that the watches require a driver to use two hands – one hand wears the watch while the other hand operates it – while smartphones only require the use of one hand. Even if the driver is only looking at the information on the smartwatch as it scrolls across the screen, they are still lifting the arm with the watch to eye level in order to read what is on the screen.

Another dangerous issue with smartwatches is that the alerts and notifications are often difficult to ignore. A driver can put their smartphone in a purse or pocket and ignore the notifications, but studies show that the sounds, vibrations, and lighting up of a smartwatch are much more difficult for the driver to ignore.

It is also more difficult to look at the screen on a smartwatch than on a smartphone. When a driver looks at their smartwatch, that action takes 2.52 seconds, compared to 1.35 seconds when looking at a smartphone.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm Today

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact  Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free consultation with one of our skilled Virginia Beach car accident attorneys to find out what legal recourse you may have against the at-fault driver. Our firm will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve, like the $235,000 car accident insurance settlement we obtained for one client who suffered multiple injuries when another driver failed to yield the right of way.

Keep in mind, however, there is a statute of limitations on how long you have to file your accident claim. Once that time frame has closed, so does the window to file your car accident claim.

 

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