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Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers in Albany

a woman driving while talking on the phone

Have You Been Injured By a Distracted Driver In Albany?

Distracted driving is driving while also engaged in any activity that is not a part of operating the motor vehicle. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles reports that 48,714 auto accidents during a recent year involved, at least in part, “driver distraction / inattention.”

Driving distracted is nothing new. However, it has increased during the last decade due to cell phone use and texting while driving.

The distracted driving accident lawyers of Powers & Santola, LLP, have a record of helping victims and their families in Albany, Syracuse and elsewhere in New York State to recover after being hurt in distracted driving crashes.

If you have been hurt or lost a family member in a crash, schedule a free initial consultation with us today and learn more about how we can protect your rights.

Threats Posed by Albany Distracted Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) takes driving distracted so seriously that it has created an extensive website at Distraction.gov. The site is devoted to educating the public about the threat of this form of reckless driving.

According to the NHTSA, about 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2012 – the most recent available statistics. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver during the same year.

The NHTSA defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” This includes:

“[B]ecause text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction,” the NHTSA states.

Like other states, New York has taken steps to end the most dangerous kinds of distracted driving. Under New York State law, you cannot legally use a hand-held mobile telephone or send a text or e-mail while you drive.

The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s SafeNY initiative also dedicates a page to Distracted Driving, Talking & Texting, with an explanation of the law and tips for avoiding driving distracted.

You may have seen the recent advertisements warning “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” They are part of a campaign by the U.S. Transportation Department to urge you to put down your cellphone and pay attention to the road.

Distracted driving kills — plain and simple. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving accidents killed 3,328 people and injured 421,000 in 2012. These accidents were preventable.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the campaign against distracted driving in early April, which has been designated National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The DOT is using radio, television and digital ads to drive home the message.

Texting and Other Distractions

The most frequently talked about distraction involves smartphones and mobile gadgets. Whether you are talking, texting or reading an email, those moments that your eyes or mind are not focused on the road could lead to a serious crash.

In New York, the number of tickets issued for texting violations increased from approximately 3,200 in 2010 to more than 30,000 in 2012, according to the N.Y. Highway Safety Annual Report. Lawmakers recognized the seriousness of car accidents in New York involving distracted drivers by increasing the severity of fines and penalties imposed for violation of New York’s cell phone and texting laws.

Texting isn’t the only distraction for drivers. Reaching for your phone, dialing and even listening to someone speaking can cause enough distraction to be dangerous. Research has shown that hands-free devices are hardly less distracting than hand-held ones, meaning that no type of phone use is safe behind the wheel.

What’s more, 25% of teens respond to a text message at least once every time they drive. And 20% of teens and 10% of parents admit to having extended text conversations while driving.

Increased Penalties for Distracted Drivers in New York

Many states and localities are boosting enforcement in April. Patrols in both New York are focused on catching drivers in violation of distracted driving laws. This means if you are bold enough to text and drive, you should be prepared to be pulled over. Effective in July 2013, the fines for cell phone and texting violations in New York increased to $150 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $400 for a third offense within 18 months.

Tips for Prevention

  1. Put your phone out of reach if it is a temptation. Lock it in your glove box or your trunk until you reach your destination.
  2. Speak up if you are riding with a driver who is texting.
  3. Be a good role model to your children and other drivers. By refusing to drive distracted, you are setting a positive example.
  4. If you are the parent or teacher of a teen driver, talk with him or her about the realities of distracted driving.

Our Albany Distracted Driving Law Firm Will Work With You

An additional way to fight driving distracted behavior is to hold a distracted driver accountable for any injuries or losses the driver causes.

A driver whose negligence – distracted driving – has caused a car accident may be held liable through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Aftermath of a car crash accident. A civil claim against a distracted driver may request compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering and more. This applies to any form of distracted driving that leads to an accident – not just texting while driving or talking on a cell phone.

An attorney’s investigation into a car accident may demonstrate that driver distraction caused a crash. Evidence may include:

Information from the vehicle’s Event Data Recorder (indicating a lack of braking – and lack of attention – just prior to the crash).

An attorney can analyze this evidence, consult with highly qualified experts and establish the best case possible for compensation through a settlement or verdict.

Contact Our Distracted Driving Attorneys in Albany

If you have been injured in a car accident in the Albany or Syracuse areas of New York that may have been caused by distracted driving, contact Powers & Santola, LLP. We can act quickly to investigate your accident and pursue the compensation you need and deserve. Simply call or reach us online today to receive a free consultation about your case.

Testimonial from a Client

When tragedy unfairly strikes people, the world can become a very scary and confusing place. At 19 years of age, the unthinkable happened to me. As I laid in the hospital, my parents struggled with a mountain of legal paperwork they didn’t understand as they were coming to grips with having a newly paralyzed son. Dan Santola stepped in, took control of the situation and became a legal guardian angel to me and my family. Dan spoke with insurance companies, the hospital, and countless other entities. He put my parents’ minds at ease, which made recovering from my injury a little easier.

– Christopher