Risky driving behaviors more likely among teens, millennials
Distracted driving contributes to thousands of accidents each year.
A report recently released by the American Automobile Association (AAA) reveals that drivers under the age of 24 (primarily the so-called “millennials”) are the most likely age group to engage in dangerous driving behaviors. Of particular concern were speeding and reckless driving, as well as the distractions posed by electronic devices like cellphones and tablets, activities like sending text messages or updating social networks, or using in-car “infotainment” panels for music selection or GPS guidance.
Alarmingly, 88 percent of young drivers polled admitted engaging in one or more risky driving behavior in the 30 days prior to the survey. This encompasses activities like:
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Talking or texting on a cellphone while driving
Car manufacturers and legislators alike are scrambling to find ways to increase roadway safety, particularly since the number of serious injuries and fatalities caused by auto accidents has begun trending upward after years of decline. Many transportation industry experts feel that texting in particular is a significant contributing factor, because it is an all-inclusive type of distraction when done behind the wheel.
Texting involves three distinct levels of distraction, all of which can significantly affect a driver’s ability to safely navigate the road ahead. These are:
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel to type in the message
- Visual – lowering your eyes to read incoming messages and review your own before sending
- Cognitive – mentally focusing on the text conversation instead of paying attention to traffic, road conditions, speed, etc.
A possible solution?
Technological advancements have gotten our society into its current predicament of rising auto accident injury and death rates, but evolving tech might also be the solution to the problem. Experts are currently working on devices similar to “Breathalyzer” tests, but for text messaging instead. These machines would be able to quickly determine if a driver was sending or receiving text messages in the moments before an accident occurred or a traffic stop was initiated.
In the past, the only way to definitively prove that a driver was texting or talking on a cellphone at the time of an accident was to subpoena and pore over phone records. This new technology will, when finalized, eliminate those extra steps. An officer will be able to, just by connecting a device to the user’s phone, see a virtual snapshot of the activity prior to a crash or traffic stop, including whether the driver sent or received a text message or phone call, was using an app or was surfing the web. Critics of the method argue that it is an impermissible invasion of privacy that isn’t justified by the possible deterrent value.
Since such technology is still in development, only time will tell if it will eventually be adopted for wider use and if it will have any sort of positive impact on the rising tide of accident injuries and deaths. In the meantime, however, if you have been hurt in an accident with a distracted driver, you have legal rights. Contact the Stamford-based Law Offices of Wesley Malowitz to learn more. Call today toll free at 866-539-5781 or locally at 203-517-0110, or send an email to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Verdicts & Settlements
36-year-old laborer for landscaping company fractured wrist when fellow employee hit him with truck. Claimant received in excess of $30,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for total disability and medical expenses and settled with automobile insurance company for fellow employee for $95,000.
1989 workers’ compensation claim settled for $125,000. Claimant originally sustained a low back injury when she slipped and fell at local grocery store resulting in low back surgery in 1989. Several years later, claimant exacerbated her low back injury. Claim was reopened and settled with carrier for $125,000 in 2006.
47-year-old deli clerk sustained low back injuries at work for local supermarket. Carrier originally denied claim on the grounds that the injury was pre-existing. After formal workers’ compensation hearing carrier accepted claim and paid all total disability benefits and medical expenses in excess of $100,000. Case then settled for an additional $100,000 after injured person received a permanent disability rating.
34-year-old male roofer sustained multiple injuries to his shoulder, neck, back and hip when he fell from roof during work. Claimant was provided workers’ compensation benefits in excess of $100,000 and settled remaining claims for an additional $55,000.
40-year-old male working for cleaning company sustained neck and low back injuries when he fell on defective staircase while cleaning local museum. Claimant recovered over $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and resolved claim against museum for $85,000.
26-year-old laborer sustained fractured foot when a cast iron pipe was dropped on his foot. Employer and workers’ compensation carrier denied claim on basis that injured worker was an independent contractor. After a series of informal and formal workers’ compensation hearings, carrier conceded that claimant was an employee and settled case for $85,000.
24-year-old waitress sustained back injury while working at Outback Steak House. Workers’ compensation insurance company initially denied the claim. After a series of informal hearings, carrier accepted claim paying medical expenses and total disability benefits. In addition to those benefits paid, claim settled for an additional $75,000.
Delivery truck driver sustained right wrist fracture in rear-end motor vehicle accident while in the course of his employment. Claimant recovered in excess of $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and total disability benefits. Claimant settled case against at-fault driver for $105,000.
22-year-old male working as stocking clerk at “big box” retailer sustained herniated disc in low back. Workers’ compensation carrier refused to accept the claim. After formal workers’ compensation, hearing commissioner ordered carrier to pay over $35,000 in past total disability benefits and pay for surgery and all related medical expenses. Case settled for an additional $35,000 for a total recovery in excess of $100,000.
Rear-end collision on entrance ramp to Merritt Parkway resulting in 49-year-old woman sustaining mid-back injury. Case settled at mediation after filing suit for $300,000.
28-year-old passenger sustained multiple herniated discs in automobile accident in New York state. New York no-fault carrier paid for extended period of disability from work and medical expenses, including expenses for surgery. Case settled against driver of vehicle for $300,000 policy limits shortly after filing suit.
54-year-old man sustains shoulder injury when hit from behind by uninsured motorist on New Jersey Turnpike. Case settled for $135,000 prior to trial.
CT Transit bus driver sustained torn meniscus in collision with another vehicle. Claims made against at-fault driver, workers’ compensation carrier and client’s underinsured motorist policy. All claims settle for a recovery in excess of $100,000.
68-year-old woman sustained neck and back injuries in rear-end collision and required extended course physical therapy, but was not a surgical candidate. Case settled for $100,000 prior to filing suit.
34-year-old woman sustained concussion and neck and back injuries in hit-and-run accident on a New York highway. Claimant settled uninsured motorist claim for her $100,000 policy limits.
80-year-old woman sustained right foot fracture when her foot was run over in a parking lot. Case settled for at-fault driver’s policy limit of $100,000 prior to filing suit.
38-year-old nanny sustained right femur fracture when she fell down defective stairs in home of her employer’s neighbor. All medical expenses and lost wages reimbursed and case settled for an additional $150,000.
Claim against landlord for defective staircase in multi-family rental house. Claimant sustained a right femur fracture. Case settled for $125,000 prior to filing suit.
$95,000 judgment obtained against bar and nightclub for assault by one of its patrons against another patron.
47-year-old woman sustained a broken left wrist when she fell from porch stairs at house she was renting. Case settled for $95,000 shortly before trial.
26-year-old male bitten on leg by German shepherd. Claim against dog owner settled for $65,000 plus payment of all medical expenses.