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How to Prove a Driver Was Distracted

Posted in Car Accidents on December 28, 2018

Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, and it is essential for every driver to understand the risks of distracted driving in Texas. A distracted driving attorney in Dallas can help a client understand his or her options for legal recourse after a distracted driving accident and recover compensation for the resulting damages. The National Safety Council reported that 3,450 people died in 2016 from distracted driving-related crashes and hundreds of thousands of drivers are engaged in distracting behaviors on American roads at any given moment.

Types of Distracted Driving

The most common form of distracted driving seen on Texas roads is cell phone use. Many states have adopted strict laws forbidding the use of electronic devices and cell phones behind the wheel, and several states have enacted laws specifically for texting and driving. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions for any driver as it encompasses all three major types of distraction behind the wheel:

  • Visual distraction. This applies to anything that diverts a driver’s gaze away from the road ahead.
  • Manual distraction. This applies to anything that requires the use of the driver’s hands when he or she should be operating the steering wheel and vehicle controls.
  • Cognitive distraction. This applies to anything that preoccupies a driver’s mind when he or she should be focusing on driving.

Texas law forbids the use of cell phones while driving, but how does an injured driver prove that the driver who caused his or her accident was using a phone or engaging in other distracting behaviors at the time of the accident?

Proving Distracted Driving

Several types of evidence may come into play in a distracted driving lawsuit in Texas. A good distracted driving attorney in Dallas may attempt to subpoena the defendant’s phone records to prove he or she used a cell phone at the time of the crash. It is also possible that a witness to the accident observed the at-fault driver on the phone at the time of the accident. When it comes to other types of distractions, such as eating behind the wheel, applying cosmetics, or arguing with a passenger, physical evidence from the crash scene as well as testimony from passengers may be crucial.

Physical evidence from the scene of an accident will play a crucial role in any car accident-related lawsuit. It is important to gather as much evidence as possible from the accident scene before the police and emergency responders clear away potentially valuable evidence. If you or a loved one are in an accident with a distracted driver, it is important to try and take as many photos as possible of the accident site if possible.

Expert Witnesses

In some distracted driving cases, an attorney in Dallas could call on expert witnesses who have relevant backgrounds to testify as to whether a defendant was distracted at the time of an accident. An expert witness would provide the court with a professional interpretation of the evidence involved in the case. However, plaintiffs need to remember that a defendant’s attorney may also call on expert witnesses to counter the claims of a plaintiff’s expert witness.

Police Reports and Traffic Camera Data

The officers that respond to a car accident will develop a report of their initial findings, including statements from the drivers involved and any witnesses who saw the crash occur. The police report may hold evidence of distracted driving, so it is essential for the plaintiff’s attorney to secure a copy of the police report for use in trial.

Many Texas roads also have traffic cameras that may have recorded an at-fault driver using a cell phone or engaging in other distracting behaviors at the time of the accident in question. A plaintiff’s attorney may be able to secure traffic camera footage for use in trial to prove the defendant’s distracted driving caused the accident in question.