Kansas Distracted Driving Crash Lawyer Discusses Texting While Driving Accidents

Jacob Mansch is a Kansas educator with a story to tell. Already wheelchair-bound because of spina bifida (a birth defect in which the spinal cord of an infant fails to develop properly), Mr. Mansch was seriously injured in a car accident that left him hospitalized for five months. The driver that caused the crash was allegedly distracted by his telephone at the time of the accident. Now, Mr. Mansch is using his accident and injuries to help bring awareness to others about the dangers of texting while driving.

Texting While Driving Statistics

The dangers of driving while distracted are well-documented, yet many people consider driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs to be a much larger issue. While driving under the influence is certainly dangerous, statistics show that texting while driving – especially amongst teenaged drivers – is fast becoming an epidemic. Consider the following statistics:

  • During 2013, ten percent of all drivers between the ages of 15 years and 19 years who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted by a cell phone at the time of the crash (the highest percentage of any age group studied);
  • It is estimated that 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 others were injured in 2013 in crashes caused by distracted drivers;
  • A teen is more likely to receive a call or text from his or her own parents while the teen is driving than from any other person;
  • A driver’s risk of being involved in a crash increases by a factor of four when that driver is using a cell phone, regardless of whether the cell phone is a “hands-free” device;
  • Cell phone usage while driving is estimated to reduce the amount of brain activity dedicated to driving by up to 37 percent.

While distracted driving increases any driver’s risk of being involved in a serious or fatal car accident regardless of the driver’s age, these same statistics show that teenage drivers are more likely than any other age group to be seriously injured or killed in distracted driving accidents.

Keep your Teen Drivers Safe

On Kansas roads (especially those long, lonesome roads in the western part of the state), it can be tempting for teen drivers to pass the time and miles by checking their e-mails and texts, social media, or voicemails. Distracted driving accidents can occur on these roads, too. To help keep their teens safe, parents should teach (and model!) the following behaviors to their teen drivers:

  • Teach your children to put away their cellphones while driving. They should turn the phone off while the car is in motion so that they will not be tempted to reach for it should a text or voicemail alert go off while the teen is driving;
  • Tell your teen driver to set an automatic message to his or her phone alerting those who might try to call or text that he or she is driving and will reply to messages when he or she arrives at his or her destination;
  • As parents, do not call your children or text them if you know they are on the road (and, again, teach your children not to answer the phone until they arrive at their destination);
  • Finally, tell your children that if they believe they must check their phones or return messages while on the road, they should first pull off at a safe location, park their cars, and then return the message(s) before resuming their trip.

Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Distracted Driving Crash Lawyer helping families and individuals harmed by distracted drivers recover compensation for their injuries and losses. Contact his law office by calling (800) 734-3771 if you or a loved one have been injured or killed by a distracted driver.

Kansas Car Accident Attorney Describes New “Driverless” License

A former racecar driver who was paralyzed in an accident 16 years ago is making news on the roads once again. Earlier this week, Sam Schmidt became the first individual to receive a license allowing him to drive a specially-modified Chevrolet Corvette. Mr. Schmidt is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a horrific accident, and although he has been able to sail a sailboat using only his chin he has not been able to drive a car since his accident. Due to advances in technology, however, Mr. Schmidt is now able to do just that. Mr. Schmidt’s story is providing hope to thousands of individuals whose disabilities and impairments had previously prevented them from driving a vehicle.

License to Drive Though Paralyzed

Because of his paralysis, Mr. Schmidt is not able to operate the accelerator, brake pedal, or steering wheel of a traditional automobile. With advances in technology, however, a specialized Corvette was created that would enable Mr. Schmidt to control the vehicle using only head movements. Nevada has allowed Mr. Schmidt to obtain a “driver’s” license that would enable him to operate the car on Nevada roadways, provided the following limitations are met:

  • Schmidt must drive with a licensed driver in the passenger seat who is capable of taking control of the car in an emergency (Mr. Schmidt’s Corvette has a steering wheel and pedals on the passenger’s side of the vehicle);
  • Schmidt is not permitted to drive on ice or snow;
  • Schmidt must drive on Nevada roadways (the license is not yet recognized as valid by other states);
  • Schmidt must follow a pilot car while driving (that is, there must be a second vehicle operated by a licensed driver who “leads” or “guides” Mr. Schmidt and his car);

Nevada has indicated that, in time, it will consider lifting some of these restrictions if it determines it is safe to do so.

Driving in Violation of Restrictions and Car Accident Lawsuits

Many individuals aside from Mr. Schmidt have one or more restrictions on their licenses. For example, many people must wear corrective lenses while driving because their ability to see things close up and/or see objects far away. Drivers who are young and/or inexperienced may be restricted to driving only when they are accompanied by a licensed driver, when they are driving to and from certain authorized locations, and/or during certain times of the day. Commercial drivers must meet certain requirements as well.

If a driver with a restricted license or a license with limitations imposed upon it is involved in a crash, does evidence that these restrictions or limitations were violated have any bearing? Potentially so, as many of these limitations are connected to a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. If these limitations were made known to the driver with the restricted license and the driver willfully chose to drive in violation of these restrictions, this may be considered an unreasonable course of conduct that breaches the duty of care. How much impact a violation of these restrictions will have depends on the cause of the accident and whether any other person is responsible for the crash.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Kansas car accident lawyer Michael R. Lawless right away. Kansas Car Accident Attorney Mr. Lawless’s investigation into your case will reveal whether the at-fault driver violated any restrictions placed on his or her license. In any event, Mr. Lawless will fight vigorously to assist you in obtaining full and fair compensation. Contact Michael R. Lawless today by calling (800) 734-3771.