Distracted Driving as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

New York’s texting while driving law is one of the toughest in the nation, with a license suspension of 120 days for the first offense. Subsequent offenses may result in a license suspension of a year, depending on how long it has been since the first offense. The state justifiably believes that texting while driving is a deadly combination.  If the statistics from the United States Department of Transportation are accurate, distracted driving accounted for or contributed to the deaths of 3,179 people in 2014.


In one case involving a fatality, as reported on NPR, the father of a 19 year old deceased was shocked to find out that the police did not investigate whether the driver was actually texting at the time of the accident. The police apparently took the driver’s word for it that he was tired and fell asleep at the time of the accident. The father was able to obtain the records through a civil suit; the police or prosecutor were able to do the same thing. The difficult thing in such cases is how to establish that the driver was texting. In one scientific paper, researchers at Virginia Tech utilized video cameras in cars and found that approximately 70% of crashes in the study involved distracted driving, which including texting, emailing, talking on the phone or even just glancing at the phone.


Even teenage drivers are aware of the extremely distracting nature. According to a 2013 survey of high school students, 62% stated that texting while driving is indeed very distracting.  Nevertheless, 68% stated that they found that they reply to text messages just the same. There was a 143% increase in traffic fatalities related to distracted driving between 2005 and 2011. It is estimated that currently, approximately one in four accidents nationwide are attributable to distracted driving. To make matters worse, the statistics for accidents caused by distracted driving are getting worse each year.


Comparing distracted driving to drunk driving is not entirely inappropriate. One University of Utah study showed that while a drunk driver may be drive more aggressively, the distracted driver is just as likely to have an accident as the drunk driver. 46 states have outlawed distracted driving in some form or another. Some states have even begun criminalizing it, especially when it results in an accident where there is a fatality or severe injury, even to the driver of the vehicle.


If you or a loved one were harmed in an automobile accident, you have the right to recover for your losses, including both economic losses and losses to enjoyment of life as well as both past and future losses. The attorneys at Napoli, Shkolnik, PLLC will work with you to understand the full extent of your injuries and damages, so as to ensure that you recover to the fullest extent allowed under the law. You can reach us by calling us directly at 212-397-1000 or by filling out our online contact information form so someone can reach out to you.