We lead busy lives and sometimes 24 hours in a day just doesn’t seem like enough time. As a result, there are times where we might decide to multitask. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can become incredibly dangerous if done behind the wheel.
In 2017, there were 4,699 drivers involved in distracted driving crashes just in the state of Nebraska, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation. This number has risen each year and is projected to continue to rise. The majority of these accidents result in injuries and financial burdens; however, the most devastating wrecks result in death.
Our Omaha distracted driving lawyers are here for you and your family in the event you’re in an auto wreck caused by another party’s negligent actions. It’s important to know you have legal rights and options that can aid in your recovery. To begin the legal process, you may benefit from having some background knowledge on distracted driving. Let’s start with the causes.
What Causes Distracted Driving?
Driving demands complete attention and focus. Unfortunately, there are a number of distractions that can pop up while behind the wheel. When it comes to understanding how a driver is affected by what’s going on around them, there are four categories:
- These types of distractions take a driver’s mind off the road.
- When a driver is physically looking away from the road while operating a vehicle, they are visually impairing themselves.
- Drivers who take their hands off the wheel for any reason are experiencing a manual distraction.
- Sometimes driving with the radio too loud or even listening to an audiobook can make a driver less aware of their driving environment.
When a driver isn’t fully engaged and responsibly operating their vehicle, they are choosing to put other travelers at risk. Unfortunately, some of those accidents may result in wrongful deaths.
What Are the Most Common Driving Distractions in Nebraska?
Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Experienced drivers may feel so confident with their abilities that they see nothing wrong with taking their eyes off the road for a second. Newer drivers may not realize how dangerous certain distractions can be. Let’s take a look at the most common distractions drivers are faced with or subject themselves to:
- Daydreaming. The majority of distracted driving accidents result from drivers’ minds wandering long enough to lead to a collision.
- Cell Phone Use. Whether talking, texting, or reading, using a cellphone while driving is irresponsible and reckless. A driver who chooses to use a cellphone while operating a vehicle will be taking their mind and eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel.
- Outside Events. Sometimes referred to as “rubbernecking,” there are instances where drivers become distracted by events occurring outside their vehicles – like an accident or construction.
- Passengers. While it’s great to have passengers on long car trips, they can contribute significantly to distraction. This is especially true with children or pets in the backseat.
- Device Usage. Cellphones aren’t the only dangerous device. GPS systems and other electronic devices also contribute to a number of crashes.
- Eating/Drinking. When we have an especially busy day, it may seem like the only time to eat can happen behind the wheel. While our cars do have cupholders, even lifting a cup can cause a driver to lose focus – especially if something spills.
- Adjusting Controls. While adjusting the A/C or radio may seem like something minor, it can lead to an accident.
- Moving Objects. When an insect gets into a vehicle or something like a cellphone falls under the seat, the instinct may be to try to remedy the situation by swatting at the bug or reaching for the phone. This takes a driver’s eyes away from the road and their hands away from the vehicle’s steering wheel.
- Smoking. While not many accidents can be related to smoking, there are instances where reaching for a cigarette, trying to light one, or even driving with one hand to smoke have caused preventable collisions.
- Grooming. Not every morning is perfect. Sometimes, we’re so late we have to get ready on the way to work. Doing this while driving, however, is never a good idea.
What Are Nebraska’s Distracted Driving Laws?
Nebraska’s distracted driving law, which pertains specifically to handheld wireless communication devices, falls under Revised Statute 60-6, 179.01. This law establishes the use of cellphones behind the wheel, what’s prohibited, how the law is enforced, what happens if the law is violated, and what the penalty is.
No one in the state is allowed to use a cellphone to text while driving a vehicle. Instant messaging, emailing, and browsing the web are also prohibited. This does not, however, apply to police officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers, or emergency medical technicians – but only while they are on duty. A driver who is in an emergency situation is also exempt. At this time, there is no law that bans the use of talking on a handheld device while operating a vehicle.
A driver can be cited for or charged with texting and driving as a secondary action, after they’ve been pulled over for a different traffic violation or offense. If someone is found guilty, they will be fined the following:
- $200 for the first offense
- $300 for the second offense
- $500 for the third and subsequent offense
If you’ve been the victim of a distracted driving crash, our attorneys can help you seek justice and hold the negligent party responsible for their actions.
How Can an Omaha Distracted Driving Lawyer Help?
If you’ve been involved in an accident, do not hesitate to reach out to our Omaha car accident lawyers. At Welsh & Welsh PC, LLC, we have the resources available to conduct a thorough investigation of your claim and do what we can to ensure you receive compensation to assist with your recovery. Contact our firm today for more information.