Kansas City Distracted Driving Car Accidents
Motor vehicles can be deadly when drivers are not wholly focused on the task of driving. Sadly, thousands of people are killed and injured each year by distracted drivers. Distracted driving continues to be one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in Kansas and Missouri. For that reason, it is important to know about the dangers of distracted driving and what to do after a distracted driving accident.
In this article, our Kansas City distracted driving car accident attorneys discuss distracted driving topics including:
- What is Distracted Driving?
- Distracted Driving Laws in Kansas
- Distracted Driving Laws in Missouri
- What to Do After a Distracted Driving Accident
- Why You Need a Kansas City Distracted Driving Accident Attorney to Help You?
- Distracted Driving Accident Statistics for Kansas and Missouri
What is Distracted Driving?
Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from operating the vehicle may be a potentially deadly distraction. One of the most common forms of distracted driving is cell phone use. Texting while driving is one of the most deadly and dangerous forms of distracted driving because it involves all three types of distracted driving.
The three types of distracted driving are:
- Cognitive – Taking your mind off driving.
- Visual – Taking your eyes off the road.
- Physical – Taking your hands off the steering wheel.
Examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving
- Eating and drinking
- Reaching for objects
- Adjusting a GPS and vehicle controls
- Talking on a cell phone
- Changing clothes
- Interacting with passengers
- Taking care of children or pets
- Looking at things on the side of the road
- Making or watching videos
- Taking pictures and selfies
If government agencies and state legislators understand the dangers of distracted driving, why don’t we have more laws against distracted driving?
Distracted Driving Laws in Kansas
The traffic laws in Kansas do not ban all forms of distracted driving. Unfortunately, all forms of distracted driving are dangerous, but the law does not recognize distracted driving itself as illegal.
Kansas traffic laws make it illegal for any driver to use an electronic device to text while driving, even when a vehicle is stopped at a stop sign or red light. There are a few exceptions to the ban on texting. For instance, the ban does not apply to EMS personnel or law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their employment. It also does not apply to a person receiving an emergency alert message or a message related to the navigation or operation of a motor vehicle. All the exceptions can be found in KSA 8-15,111.
Adults are not banned from using cell phones; however, younger drivers are restricted from using electronic devices. Additionally, younger drivers have passenger restrictions to help reduce distractions for teen drivers.
Distracted Driving Laws in Missouri
In stark contrast to Kansas laws, Missouri does not have a ban on texting while driving. Younger drivers (drivers under the age of 21 years) are banned from texting while driving or using a handheld mobile device while driving. Adults are not under the same restrictions.
Our Kansas City accident attorney is a former state legislator who knows firsthand that Missouri is one of three states that has not taken steps to ban texting while driving. Legislation continues to be introduced but has yet to be passed. For example, Senate Bill 15 (2019) would ban texting for all drivers, regardless of age. As of the publication of this article, the Bill has not been passed out of committee.
What to Do After a Distracted Driving Accident
Distracted driving does not need to be illegal for an accident victim to receive compensation for injuries and damages caused by a distracted driver. Personal injury laws in Kansas and Missouri hold a party liable for damages arising out of negligence and other wrongdoing. If a distracted driver causes a traffic accident, that driver can be held liable for damages including:
- The cost of medical care and personal care;
- Loss of income;
- Property damages;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress and mental anguish;
- Scarring, disability, and disfigurement;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and,
- Other financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses.
The amount of compensation you might receive for a distracted driving accident depends on factors such as your financial losses, the severity of your injuries, apportionment of fault, and insurance coverage. In addition, the steps you take after being injured by a distracted driver can also have an impact on the value of your injury claim.
Steps to take after a distracted driving accident:
- Call 911 immediately to report the crash.
- Tell the officer exactly what happened before the crash, but do not accept any fault for the crash.
- Ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.
- Take photographs and make videos of the accident scene, if it is safe to do so.
- See a physician immediately to document your injuries.
- Document all financial losses, including medical bills, loss of income, medications, medical equipment, personal care, travel expenses, etc.
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone, especially online and through social media.
- Do not sign any releases or provide statements to the insurance company without discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer.
- Contact the Kansas City distracted driving attorneys of The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus for a free consultation as soon as possible.
Why You Need a Kansas City Distracted Driving Accident Attorney to Help You
Proving that a driver was distracted at the time of the crash is not sufficient to prove fault. The police may ticket a Kansas driver for texting while driving and the driver could plead guilty to the charge. However, texting while driving in Kansas is a traffic offense. It is not conclusive proof that a driver caused the crash.
Distractions while driving can and do cause accidents. However, you must prove the distracted driver did something to cause the collision to hold the driver liable for damages.
For instance, a driver reaching for an object that fell under the seat crosses the center line and hits a vehicle in a head-on collision. The cause of the collision was the driver veering into oncoming traffic. Reaching for an object may be considered negligent behavior and a factor in the cause of the crash, but the primary cause was drifting into another lane of traffic.
An experienced Kansas City distracted driving accident lawyer understands that you need evidence related to all factors that contributed to the cause of the crash to establish fault and liability.
Investigating the Cause of a Distracted Driving Crash
The cause of a car accident is easier to prove in some cases. Proving that the distracted driver caused the crash is critical. Our experienced Kansas City distracted driving accident attorney understands the elements required to prove fault and liability in accident cases in Kansas and Missouri.
Our legal team utilizes a variety of resources to ensure that we thoroughly investigate crashes to determine the cause and secure evidence to prove fault. In complex cases, we utilize expert witnesses to determine the cause of the crash and provide evidence and testimony to prove the other driver was at fault.
Distracted Driving Accident Statistics for Kansas and Missouri
Nationwide in 2017, 3,166 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents. One of the most common forms of distracted driving is cell phone use.
Some distracted driving accident statistics for Missouri include:
- 94% of traffic crashes in Missouri are caused by some form of human error.
- Crashes involving cell phones increased by 11% in 2016. Cellphone-related crashes in Missouri have increased by 35% since 2014.
- During the past three years, roughly 70% of the crashes involving cellphone use involved drivers 22 years of age or older.
- A driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to be involved in a critical traffic accident.
Some distracted driving accident statistics for Kansas include:
- The top contributing factor for 2017 traffic accidents in Kansas was “failed to give full time an attention” (21%).
- From 2012 to 2017, there were 13,338 distracted driving accidents in Kansas.
- 2,062 people were injured and 38 people were killed in electronic device or cellphone-related crashes in Kansas from 2012 to 2017.
- 3,854 people were injured and 48 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving other distractions in Kansas from 2012 to 2017.
Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney in Kansas City for More Information
A distracted driver can change the lives of an entire family in a matter of seconds. If a negligent, reckless driver has caused your injury, our legal team can help. We provide the legal counsel, support, and guidance accident victims and their families need as they try to put their lives back together after a distracted driving accident.
Call the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus at 816-203-0143, for a free consultation with a Kansas City distracted driving accident attorney. Our free, no-obligation consultation is confidential. Get sound legal advice a trusted legal advocate for injury victims without any obligation to hire our firm. Our Kansas City personal injury law firm assists clients throughout Missouri and Kansas.