…And Everyone Else on the Road
If you are age 18 to 34, you are probably reading this on your smartphone. Who can blame you? Web browsers on today’s phones are every bit as powerful as the ones on full-size desktop computers. Perhaps you are doing other things on your phone right now too – messaging friends or listening to music, for example. Multitasking is what smartphones are all about.
The problems come when millennials use their phones while engaged in another activity, like driving, that requires their full attention to avoid injury. The number of young lives being lost to distracted driving accidents in Orange County is reaching epidemic levels. It is not that older people can drive and use their phones more safely. Millennials just interact with their phones more often.
Learning about a problem is the first step toward solving it. With that in mind, Neale & Fhima offers the information below to help millennials understand how much they have to lose by using a smartphone behind the wheel. We are also available to speak with victims of cellphone-related traffic accidents about their legal rights. Call (888) 559-4904 or message us now.
A Collision Can Happen Quicker than You Think
How long do you think it takes to read or reply to a text message? The average is about five seconds. That does not sound long, until you consider what can happen out on the road in that amount of time. Here are three hypotheticals:
- You are driving on the Santa Ana At 65 mph, you travel 477 feet in the time it takes you to text. That is one and a half football fields. Another motorist breaks down in your lane and you do not realize it until you slam into the rear of the stalled vehicle.
- You are driving by John Wayne Airport on MacArthur Boulevard. The traffic light at the Campus Drive intersection is green as you approach. In the time it takes you to text, the light goes from green, to yellow, to red. You enter the intersection on red and get hit broadside by cross traffic.
- You are driving along West Balboa Boulevard in Newport Beach. Up ahead, the crosswalk at 28th Street is empty. In the time it takes you to text, a pedestrian appears and makes it 22 feet into the crosswalk (based on a walking speed of 3 mph). You strike the pedestrian with your car.
The Consequences of Causing an Accident
A distracted driving accident may be over and done in a matter of moments, but the consequences can last forever. The possible repercussions of causing a collision while using your phone include:
- Harm to yourself. On the most basic level, putting away your phone while driving is a matter of self-preservation. Most of your life still lies ahead. Do not become a statistic!
- Harm to others. Escaping your accident without injury will not mean much if other people are maimed or killed. The guilt of destroying innocent lives is not something you want on your conscience.
- Property damage. Do you like your car? Attentive driving will help keep it in one piece.
- Financial liability. Any damages not covered by insurance will come out of your pocket. That includes the amount awarded to your victims for pain and suffering damages, which can be enormous.
- Criminal penalties. You can go to jail if someone dies. It is called “vehicular manslaughter” and carries a maximum penalty of 6 years in prison under California law.
Help Prevent Cellphone-Related Traffic Crashes
Once you commit to getting off your phone while driving, something odd will happen. You will become much more aware of distracted driving when you see other people do it. So, as a passenger, if you see a friend (or parent) reach for the phone while driving, speak up. Tell them, “Hey, that’s dangerous.” Saving their life and yours can be just that easy.
Neale & Fhima is a Southern California personal injury law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Dana Point, San Francisco and San Diego. Please contact our office for advice if you were hurt by a distracted or negligent driver.