There are more than two million rear-end collisions in the United States every year. That means that they account for roughly 30 percent of all car crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a staggering 90 percent of all rear-end accidents could be avoided if the driver was aware of the stopped vehicle in front of them just one second earlier. That means that distraction, even for a second, can cause accidents and injuries.
The second driver in rear-end collision will almost always be at fault in a rear-end crash. That means that if you have been rear-ended, you likely have a legal claim that can help you address things like medical expenses and lost time away from work. A Los Angeles auto accident lawyer will be able to help you assess your legal options.
Cell Phone and Distraction: A Concerning Trend
The NHTSA indicates that 87 percent of rear-end accidents take place because the second driver is distracted. Checking email, social media, texting, and talking on the phone are all top distraction-related activities.
Even talking on a cell phone while driving is very dangerous. In fact, the University of North Carolina recently did a study that indicated that drivers talking on their phones are more than twice as likely to be involved in a rear-end collision. They are also more likely to:
- Fail to slow down when the conditions of the road indicate they should
- Follow other vehicles too closely
- Decline to yield to other cars
- Violate stop signs and traffic signals
In 2016, there were 3,450 people killed nationwide because of distracted driving. Another roughly 391,000 were injured in 2015.
California has outlawed the use of handheld cell phones while driving, but even talking on a headset can be a distraction that leads to collisions.
Proving Fault in a Rear-End Collision
When a driver is distracted and rear-ends another vehicle that is parked or stopped at a traffic signal, fault will almost always be assessed to the driver that hit the first vehicle. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between.
In some situations, a distracted driver will outright admit that they were distracted at the time of the crash. This is especially true if a police officer asks them why they didn’t slow down in time to avoid the collision. For this reason, it’s important to call the police and have a report done after a rear-end crash.
In other cases, a driver may be less willing to explain why the incident occurred, or they may outright lie. Your Los Angeles auto accident lawyer may be able to get cell phone records that show incoming and outgoing texts or phone calls and data usage just before the crash occurred. When you have that type of information, you can often conclude that the other driver was on their phone when the accident happened, even if they don’t want to admit it.
To get assistance with a rear-end collision, contact the team at Compass Law Group, LLP.