Distracted driving has become a full-fledged epidemic in the United States, including each of the states we serve as a car accident law firm: Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota.
Every day, people are suffering serious injury or death as a result of negligent driver distraction.
It isn’t just cell phones, either. There are many things taking drivers’ eyes off the road these days. Some of them are age-old distractions; others are the result of new technology. But any kind of distraction is dangerous, and studies show the problem is only getting worse.
There are plenty of resources online detailing the close association between Nebraska auto accidents and distracted driving in general. But in today’s article, we’re going to look at a specific type of car crash closely correlated with cell phone use and inattentive driving: rear-end collision.
If you’ve been injured by a driver who rear-ended your vehicle because they weren’t paying attention, you should understand how common these accidents are, the issues they cause, and how you can go about claiming compensation for your damages.
Distracted Driving & Rear-End Collision Statistics
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT):
- Nearly 30% of all auto accidents are rear-end collisions.
- 87% of rear-end collisions involve some element of distracted driving.
- Distracted driving plays a role in more than 75% of rear-end collisions involving at least one teenage driver.
And according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), rear-end collisions are the third leading cause of death in U.S. traffic accidents.
These facts, taken together, make it clear that distracted driving poses a significant risk of serious injury or death in a rear-end accident.
The Most Dangerous Forms of Distracted Driving
As texting while driving continues to claim far too many lives, cell phone use now dominates the national conversation about distracted driving. But truth be told, drivers have been distracted for as long as “driving” has been a verb.
Operating a motor vehicle is a serious responsibility and it demands constant focus. Indulging in any distraction is a form of negligence. In other words, drivers who choose to engage in distracting behaviors while driving may be liable for the damages they cause.
The most common phone-based driver distractions are:
- Reading or composing emails
- Talking on the phone
- Browsing the web
- Searching for music
- GPS apps
- Instant messaging
- Social media
- Watching YouTube videos
Other dangerous driver distractions include:
- Talking to passengers
- Bickering or fighting with passengers
- Tending to children in the backseat
- Looking at instrument panels
- Adjusting the radio
- Using a built-in navigation system or touchscreen display
- Searching through the glove compartment or dashboard compartment
- Reaching for items on another seat
- Paying attention to billboards or roadside distractions instead of the road
- Looking in the mirror
- Applying makeup
- Reading a map (or anything else)
Typical Injuries in Rear-End Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
Because rear-end collisions happen so often — and because many happen at low speeds — there is a tendency among some people to think of these as “less serious” accidents. But as the above-cited statistics show, they’re far from harmless. Serious injuries are not uncommon, and far too many people lose their lives in rear-end collisions in Nebraska every year.
In fact, distracted driving may be more likely to result in a serious rear-end collision precisely because the at-fault drivers have little or no time to make adjustments before impact. A texting driver can be hurtling down the interstate at 80 m.p.h. and slam into the back of a sudden traffic jam.
Among those who survive, injuries run the gamut and may include:
- Soft tissue injury
- Facial lacerations
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Permanent disability
- Quadriplegia or paraplegia
The Problem with Crash Avoidance Technology in Rear-End Accidents
In the last few years, the motor vehicle industry has made leaps and bounds in the field of automotive safety technology. New vehicles come equipped with crash avoidance features that were once the fantasies of science fiction.
Some of these crash avoidance technology features are designed specifically to prevent rear-end crashes. For example, some cars have forward-facing cameras that detect a vehicle in the short distance ahead, prompting the car to brake automatically before collision.
But these technologies are not perfect, and they don’t work the same in every car. Fearing that drivers will put too much trust in the tech, many vehicle manufacturers design the car to slow — not stop — when approaching a stationary vehicle ahead, meaning the technology won’t keep the crash from happening. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always understand this. Too many drivers, especially teenagers, have come to view these features as a “free pass” for distracted driving.
In that sense, crash avoidance technology might actually make distracted driving a more common cause of rear-end crashes.
Schedule a Free Case Review with an Omaha Auto Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end accident caused by distracted driving, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. Before you agree to a settlement with an insurance company, talk to an experienced attorney to make sure you understand what you really deserve.
At Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C., our goal is always to get our clients the largest amount of financial compensation available. We are a Nebraska personal injury law firm with many years of experience and a long track record of getting injured Nebraskans the compensation they deserve.
To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Omaha auto accident lawyer in our office, please contact Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C. as soon as possible. We do not charge a fee for our services unless and until you win.
We are proud to offer legal representation to distracted driving victims and other injured people all across Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and beyond. Give us a call today.