Marsalisi Law
how to prove a driver was distracted

These days on the road, it’s not an uncommon sight to see drivers with their eyes glued to their cell phones while operating their cars.  Texting and other actions that can distract from driving are some of the primary causes of car accidents today. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2018, distracted driving claimed the lives of 2,841 people.  While 2018 figures are less than 2017, which claimed 3,166 lives from distracted driving, this is still a national problem with too many lives being taken for reasons that are 100 percent avoidable.

What are the Risks of Distracted Driving?

It doesn’t take long for a car accident to occur from driving distracted.  According to the NHTSA, the average person takes five seconds to respond to a text while driving.  Taking your eyes off the road for five seconds while driving at a rate of 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) reported that text messaging while driving increases the risk of crashing by 23 times.  Most people are aware of the high risks of distracted driving. Yet even after Florida’s move to make distracted driving a primary offense for getting a ticket, drivers continue to ignore the dangers of driving distracted, and accidents continue to happen every day because of it.

What Proves that a Driver was Distracted?

There are critical pieces of evidence that your car accident attorney can use to prove that the driver who caused your accident was distracted.  You can personally gather some evidence as the victim of the accident, while your attorney can more easily attain other pieces of relevant evidence.  The following items are various forms of evidence that can be used at trial to prove that the driver who caused the accident was distracted at the time the accident occurred:

Evidence at the Scene of the Crash

In the minutes following your car accident, if you’re able to, be aware and look for signs that might prove that the other driver was distracted before crashing into you.  In most cases, distracted driving is caused by cell phone use. However, drivers can become distracted in different ways. Examples of proof include: 

  • A cell phone on the passenger’s seat that’s still unlocked;
  • A cell phone in the driver’s hand after exiting their vehicle;
  • Fast food bags or wrappers near the driver’s seat;
  • A pet in the driver’s car;
  • Loose make-up or a make-up bag near the driver’s seat.

If you’re able to, take a photo of what you see in the moments after your accident.  The sooner you snap a photo documenting the crash, the less likely that evidence can be moved or tampered with.

Cell Phone Records 

In severe car crashes, a judge can approve a subpoena for the driver’s cell phone records to show if any phone calls or text messages were sent or received during the time of the crash. While it’s not illegal to receive a text message while driving in Florida, it can be helpful for your case if the message was received in the minutes before the accident.

Activity on Social Media

Similar to cell phone records, activity on social media can be telling as to whether the driver was distracted or not.  This evidence is often easier to acquire than subpoenaing cell phone records since a lot of social media activity is available for the public to see.  If the driver tweeted in the minutes before or during your crash, this might be used as evidence that they were distracted. 

Vehicle Data 

As technology advances, so do cars.  Many vehicles are equipped with sophisticated computer equipment that documents the activity of your car.  This data might report how fast the car was going, whether the various controls in the vehicle were changed, and other important information that can help prove that the driver was distracted behind the wheel.  

Police Reports

When law enforcement shows up on the scene, they’ll generate and file a report with details on the car accident.  If the police officer takes note of the driver admitting to being distracted, that information can be particularly useful in a court hearing for damages after the wreck.

Confidential Consultation with St. Petersburg Auto Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida because another driver was distracted, you should be entitled to compensation.  You should never have to pay for an accident caused by the negligence of another driver. Proving that a driver was distracted, however, can be challenging. In St. Petersburg, Frank P. Marsalisi of Marsalisi Law has built a reputation for helping car accident victims get the compensation they deserve.  His experience and knowledge will help you gather the evidence necessary to prove the driver who caused your accident was distracted. 

Marsalisi Law offers free consultations to new clients. For sound advice on your car accident claim, complete an online contact form or call today at (727) 800-5052.

Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.