how many deaths are caused by texting and driving

How Many Deaths Are Caused By Texting And Driving Each Year?

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 6 minutes

How Many Deaths Are Caused By Texting And Driving Each Year?

If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, then chances are that you’ve wondered how many others find themselves in similar situations — in essence, how many injuries and how many deaths are caused by texting and driving each year.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the use of a cell phone while driving leads to as many as 1.6 million crashes every single year. Further, these crashes give rise to nearly 390,000 injuries annually.

More broadly, in 2021, there were 3,522 fatalities and an estimated additional 362,415 injuries in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving distracted drivers in the United States,” according to the NHTSA. This data includes incidents where texting while driving was a factor. A total of 396 people died in fatal crashes involving cell-phone-related activities as distractions.

The NHTSA states that “texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

Curious about texting and driving disputes? Read on to learn more.

How much does texting and driving increase your chances of a crash?

Given how many injuries and how many deaths are caused by texting and driving each year, it should come as no surprise that texting dramatically increases the likelihood that you will crash your vehicle. According to Drive Safe, texting while driving increases crash risks by up to 23 times! Given that it’s such a significant uptick in risk, drivers should be careful to avoid such behavior at all costs.

What percent of Americans have driven drunk?

According to the American Addiction Center, nearly 23.2 percent of people in the US have driven drunk at least once. That’s an alarming statistic, given the severity and frequency of accidents caused by drunk drivers, but get this: industry experts estimate that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk!

Distracted driving liability — plaintiffs have an advantage

Driving while distracted is negligent behavior, and — if it contributes to an accident-related injury — may result in liability. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, then you could potentially be entitled to sue them for damages as compensation.

As the plaintiff in a distracted driving lawsuit, you should be confident, as you have a unique advantage. In many “normal” car accident disputes, the negligence of the defendant-driver isn’t obvious — for example, if the defendant swerved into your lane suddenly, it could be due to hazardous weather conditions that forced them to make the maneuver. Similarly, a wrong turn may have been justified by various environmental circumstances.

Distracted driving is typically more straightforward. There’s not usually a “justifiable” reason as to why a driver isn’t paying attention. Exceptions exist, of course, but they are not particularly common. As such, all you have to do is prove that they were engaging in the behavior that qualifies as “distracted” (i.e., texting and driving) to establish negligence. This can give you a leg-up during litigation, and may give you sufficient leverage to push for an early settlement.

Potential punitive damages

In some of the most egregious cases, punitive damages may be awarded by the court in an effort to discourage others from engaging in similarly “problematic” behavior. Texting and driving (i.e., distracted driving) certainly counts as problematic, but with respect to the willfulness, maliciousness, and/or egregiousness of the defendant’s behavior, punitive damages will only be awarded in particularly severe situations.

For example, if the defendant accidentally looks down at his phone to check a text while driving, that behavior is not severe enough (i.e., willful, malicious, or egregious enough) to qualify for punitive damages. On the other hand, if the defendant is knowingly engaging an injury risk by watching a tv show on their phone while driving, that would likely qualify for punitive damages.

If punitive damages are potentially available, they are worth pursuing. That’s because punitive damages operate as a multiplier on the baseline “compensatory” damages. So if your compensation claim totals $100,000, you could be awarded punitive damages that run as high as $700,000, for a total payout of $800,000. Given the potential here, it’s worth discussing a punitive damages claim with your attorney as you explore your litigation options.

Evidence in a distracted driving case

Given how many injuries and how many deaths are caused by texting and driving each year, it’s important to know how to properly litigate such cases — at least, some of the basics. It’s worth noting that if you’re involved in a text-and-driving dispute, you may be at an advantage when it comes to establishing evidence of the defendant’s wrongdoing.

How so? Consider this.

In any car accident injury dispute, the defendant-driver can be held liable if they were acting negligently, and if that negligence contributed to the accident. Texting-and-driving does qualify (under the vast majority of circumstances) as negligence. So if you can prove that the defendant-driver was texting at the time of the accident, then it’ll be much easier to establish their liability.

This may come as a surprise, but evidence of texting-while-driving can be quite easy to procure. Of course, there may be eyewitness testimony, video footage, photos, and various visual confirmations. But perhaps the most common way of proving that the defendant was texting-while-driving is to investigate their phone records. These phone records will show the exact time that texts were sent and received, which can be cross-referenced against the time of the accident to establish negligence.

How much compensation are you entitled to in a car accident dispute?

In a car accident, whether or not it involves a distracted driving-related claim, the injured party may potentially be compensated for the following losses:

  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Property loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • And more

As the injured plaintiff, you may claim any of these losses, so long as you have the evidence to support your claims. Not all losses are easy to measure, however. For example, pain and suffering is somewhat subjective, as it is based on personal experience — as such, your attorney will work with experts who can testify in support of your damages claims, showing that your subjective losses are justified (with reference to the baseline).

If you’ve been injured in a texting and driving accident, then you could be entitled to significant compensation for your losses. Many people underestimate just how many injuries and how many deaths are caused by texting and driving. When an accident occurs, compensation may be possible. So it’s worth exploring your options with the help of an attorney.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to connect to an experienced local attorney in just 10 minutes or less. During this free initial consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your case with the attorney, who may be able to provide some guidance as well as identify next steps. There’s no obligation to continue if you decide against it, so there’s no downside!

We look forward to assisting you.

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