Like many other U.S. cities, distracted driving in Las Vegas is a major problem. According to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), 59 people died on Nevada roadways in distracted driving accidents between 2015 and 2019. That’s about 3.7% of Nevada’s total traffic accident fatalities. While that may not seem like a lot at first glance, it’s much more sobering when you consider that distracted driving crashes are some of the most underreported accidents.
Unlike drunk driving, which can be measured with BAC testing, most distracted driving accident statistics rely on self-reporting—which, in the case of fatal accidents, isn’t always possible. In addition, many distracted drivers aren’t likely to admit to engaging in this type of illegal behavior after an accident. Unless investigating officers find evidence of distractions in the wreckage, the real cause of these accidents may go undetected.
While you can’t control what other motorists do on the road, you may be surprised to find that following just a few simple rules can go a long way towards the prevention of distracted driving accidents and fatalities. Learn more about staying safe behind the wheel with these tips from the Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys.
Understanding the Different Types of Distracted Driving
There are three main categories of distracted driving: visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel), and cognitive (taking your mind off driving). Some distractions may only be visual, manual, or cognitive, while others can involve a combination of two or all three, as is the case in texting and driving.
Anything that causes you to take your eyes away from the road is considered a visual distraction, even if you’re at a stoplight. Some of the most common visual distractions in Las Vegas include:
- Looking at your phone screen or infotainment system (i.e., reading a text message, looking up GPS directions, looking for a music or podcast to listen to)
- Looking at one of the many distracting billboards, Vegas Strip attractions, or car accidents on the side of the road
- Paying more attention to the driver who cut you off than the road in front of you
- Looking for personal items in your bag or elsewhere in the car
Take one look out the window on the freeway in Las Vegas and chances are you’ll see at least one driver combining their morning routine with their morning commute—eating breakfast, putting on mascara, trying to fix that missed button, you name it. Multi-tasking has become so second-nature to us that many people forget just how dangerous cars can be, especially at highway speeds. Common manual distractions include:
- Eating, drinking, or smoking
- Combing your hair, putting on makeup, or otherwise grooming
- Adjusting the radio, air conditioning, or other vehicle controls
- Holding or typing on your cell phone
- Reaching forward, backward, or sideways to pick up a dropped item
Note: even in the age of advanced self-driving cars, keeping both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road remains integral to being a safe driver and protecting other motorists around you.
You don’t have to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road to be engaging in distracted driving. Although much of driving can become automatic once you become an experienced driver, maintaining your mental focus is still critical. Some frequent cognitive distractions include:
- Talking on the phone (even while hands-free)
- Talking to passengers (including disciplining your kids in the back seat)
- Driving while in a heightened emotional state such as anger, anxiety, or sadness
- Driving while fatigued or on very little sleep
Ways to Limit Distractions While Driving
Most people have engaged in some form of distracted driving in Las Vegas at some point or another, whether you realized it at the time or not. Prevention of behaviors in the first place—and learning to recognize the signs of other distracted drivers—is the best way to avoid a distracted driving car accident.
Saying no to that incoming phone call or unread text message can be difficult when we’re so used to instant gratification. Remove the temptation altogether by putting your phone on silent, putting it away in your glove box, or downloading one of the many smartphone apps that will put your phone in driving mode for you.
Driving safely requires your full focus and attention, whether you’re going on a long road trip or just down the street. If you find yourself getting ready for work in the car or eating meals on the run, try to budget additional time into your schedule so you’re not hair styling when you should be driving. Also, be sure to make any adjustments to your mirrors, A/C, and navigation before you put the car in drive.
Pull Over for Emergencies
In rare situations, something too important to ignore may come up while you’re driving. Perhaps you’ve spotted a drunk driver, witnessed an accident, or received an urgent phone call. If this happens while you’re alone, pull over to a safe location (preferably not the side of a busy road, a parking lot is much safer), turn off the engine, and then deal with the situation.
Know What to Look For
Driving safely requires your full focus and attention, whether you’re going on a long road trip or just down the street. If you find yourself getting ready for work in the car or eating meals on the run, try to budget additional time into your schedule so you’re not hair styling when you should be driving. Also, be sure to make any adjustments to your mirrors, A/C, navigation before you put the car in drive.
What to Do if You’re Hit by a Distracted Driver
The consequences of being in a distracted driving crash can be devastating. Victims may suffer from injuries like lacerations, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, spinal injuries, and even death. Bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly at risk of being struck and killed by a distracted driver, especially when combined with low visibility and poor infrastructure like a lack of crosswalks or bike lanes.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of distracted driving in Las Vegas, you should know about all your legal options. On top of injuries, you may be dealing with vehicle loss, lost wages, mounting medical bills, pain, and suffering. In cases of wrongful death, you may also be contending with immeasurable grief, loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.
Proving negligence in car accidents can be difficult when there’s no physical evidence of distracted driving, so consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is a crucial step in making sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. At Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, we offer free, no obligation consultations to all our prospective clients so that they can understand the injury claim process.
If you’ve been offered an inadequate settlement or had your accident claim denied by an insurance company, our legal team is available 24/7 to help. Contact us today by calling 702-877-1500, connecting with a representative via LiveChat, or by sending us a brief message about your case. The call is free, the consultation is free, and we charge no fees unless we make a financial recovery on your behalf.