Distracted Driving is a Leading Cause of Traffic Fatalities
In recently filed lawsuits personal injury attorneys argue that distracted drivers and technology developers should be held accountable for the lives lost at the hands of those toying with their phones. They say that drivers and developers need to be held accountable in order to prevent future tragedy.
In 2015 distracted driving caused 10 percent of all traffic fatalities according to NHTSA.
McMinn Law Firm has joined others in suing technology companies such as Apple, Lyft, and Uber for failing to restrict device users from injuring others while texting and driving.
Personal injury attorneys argue that distracted drivers and technology developers need know it is their responsibility to take action to prevent loss of life at the hands of those toying with their phones. It is a reasonable expectation that people should be able to walk, drive or cycle on Austin roadways without being harmed by others’ negligence.
Serious consequences of texting and driving
- Distracted driving killed 3,477 in 2015.
- 391,000 were injured by distracted driving in 2015.
- 660,000: Estimated number of drivers using electronic devices while driving during the day.
A family torn apart by distracted driving
In October of 2015, the lives of the Edwards family were changed forever in a matter of seconds. On the way to her brother’s wedding rehearsal, Kate got into an Uber with her mother, father, and fiance.
But on the way there the Uber driver attempted to accept a ride from Lyft rider. The driver made an unprotected left turn, causing a serious crash that killed Kate and her mother, Irene, moments before the wedding rehearsal.
McMinn Law Firm has filed a lawsuit against Lyft, on behalf of the Edwards family. The lawsuit says the driver of the Uber could have been prevented from using the Lyft while the vehicle is moving or other apps are open.
This liability question is similar to other cases filed against technology companies. It comes at a time when distracted driving is at an all time high. Personal injury lawyers like Jason McMinn call on drivers and companies to share their responsibility in tragedies like this. Communities like Round Rock, where the Edwards family occurred,
Liability in Distracted Driving Cases Shared by Multiple Parties
Experts say this tragedy could have been prevented with the technology available to app developers at Lyft. A case was filed against Apple involving a Texas family that lost a daughter in a car crash because the distracted driver was FaceTiming on his iPhone while driving. And more recently, a lawsuit was filed in Minnesota when a family lost their son when a driver was texting and driving.
Lawsuits could pave new road in requiring technology companies to prevent distracted driving
McMinn Law Firm maintains that it is the responsibility of technology companies to develop products that do not cause harm to Americans. McMinn’s lawsuit against Lyft is a reminder that a safer product could have prevented the deaths of Kate Edwards and Irene Edwards.
The Minnesota case was filed after 20-year-old David Riggs was hit and killed by a texting driver. His father, Craig Riggs, has filed a lawsuit against Apple. The suit holds the Cuppertino company partly responsible for the tragedy, stating that the company has not installed available technology that could prevent drivers from texting and driving.
It is a reasonable expectation that people should not lose their lives because of the features on smart phones or in apps don’t take safety into account. Developers of apps and creators of cell phones should be held partially accountable for the thousands of deaths caused each year by distracted driving.
Apple argues that it shouldn’t be accountable for crashes caused by people using their technology. In a response to the Texas family who lost their daughter to a FaceTiming driver, Apple said that people “engage in a wide variety of distractions while driving, but these actions do not make the product manufacturers or service providers liable.”
While a lipstick tube can’t detect whether the driver is behind a wheel, a cell phone can. The average text takes 5 seconds to read. If moving at 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of traveling the span of five football fields. New data collected from actual device use shows that cell phones are used during 88 percent of trips.
If left completely ignored, distracted driving is a serious health issue that has little consequence for those who commit the crime. In some parts of Texas, there are no consequences for this risky behavior.
After causing a crash that killed 13, a Uvalde man admitted to a witness that he was texting and driving. But immediately following the crash the man faced no legal charges because what some call “intexticated” driving is still legal in the area.
Texas has it’s own Statewide Texting Ban
Lawmakers in Texas may make distracted driving illegal statewide this legislative session. But this is not the first time the issue has been brought to the floor.
Right now, Texas is one of only four states that does not have a distracted driving ban. Some experts say that may change this legislative session. In previous legislative sessions, House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, has attempted to pass legislation that would prevent distracted driving.
Distracted drivers and developers of smartphone technology should be held accountable in for the negligence that harms our Texas communities.
Just Drive: McMinn Law Firm creates video to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.