Tennessee Distracted Driving Attorney

According to the National Safety Council, Tennessee leads the nation in distraction-related crash fatalities. Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Richardson told FOX 13 News that while texting is “the mother of all distractions,” any behavior that takes one’s focus off the task of driving is dangerous. But unless a driver exhibits obvious signs of distraction – like swerving, or running a stop sign – police may not be able to tell when someone is driving distracted.

Eating, chatting with passengers, and fiddling with stereo controls are all forms of distraction. For the people who suffer injuries in crashes with distracted drivers, the cause of the distraction is irrelevant. What matters most to injury victims is getting the help they need to move on with their lives.

If you’ve been injured in a crash, and you believe a distracted driver is to blame, you may be entitled to compensation that could help with medical costs and lost wages. Call the law office of John R. Colvin today to request your free, no-obligation consultation: 1-931-962-1044.

Life-Changing Moments

A driver who looks away from the road for just a few seconds may not realize the tragic consequences of that mistake. In 2009, a freshman at University of Memphis Lambuth was driving with a friend when he saw an oncoming car cross the center line of the road. As he swerved to avoid that car, he saw the driver was looking down, her face illuminated by the glow of a cellphone.

That freshman was Fletcher Cleaves, whose football accomplishments at Cordova High School, in Memphis, earned him a scholarship to play at UM-Lambuth. But when he swerved to avoid that distracted driver, his car flipped into an embankment, and he broke his neck in two places.

A six-minute film – part of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign to end distracted driving – chronicles Cleaves’ story from elite athlete to a man unable to walk. Unfortunately, many people have suffered similar fates, due to inattentive drivers.

Distracted Driving Crashes in Tennessee

According to the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, crashes involving distraction increased significantly between 2007 and 2016. In Franklin County, distraction-related crashes increased more than threefold – from 20 to 75. Increases were also noted in surrounding counties:

  • Coffee County – 57 to 147
  • Grundy County – 5 to 20
  • Lincoln County – 37 to 46
  • Marion County – 40 to 62.

Statewide, distraction-related crashes increased from 10,347 to 24,754. In Shelby County, where such crashes increased from 1,631 to 7,144, police are trying to put an end to distracted driving with targeted enforcement campaigns.

Enforcement Challenges

In April, state and local police in Shelby County cited 22 drivers for distraction in a 45-minute period. Eight of those citations were for texting while driving, which Tennessee state law forbids.

But that law is difficult to enforce, because someone holding a phone may not necessarily be texting.

A new law may help police catch more distracted drivers. Senate Bill 0594 was signed into law May 23. When it takes effect in January 2018, driving while talking on a hand-held phone will be a Class C misdemeanor. The law also forbids drivers under age 18 from using a hands-free cellphone while driving.

The Effects of Other Distractions

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Data Loss Institute in 2014 reported that an analysis of crash data showed that states with hand-held cellphone bans did not experience a corresponding decrease in crashes. The IIHS concluded there could be “several possible reasons” hand-held phone bans didn’t reduce crashes, and one could be that drivers switched to hands-free phones, which are nearly as distracting as hand-held phones.

The IIHS partnered with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute on another study of cellphone use and crash risk. The study found that although cellphone use is a distraction and does reduce reaction time, it is only one of several dangerous distractions while driving.

The president of IIHS and HLDI said that singling out cellphone use as the most dangerous distraction may result in drivers not thinking about other behaviors that are distracting. He said car crash avoidance systems and traffic flow design that causes drivers to slow down and pay attention could help reduce distracted driving crashes.

Help for Families

If you’ve suffered an injury in a car crash, your medical costs could quickly put a strain on your budget. Some families have had to deplete their savings, just to ensure their loved ones receive proper care. But with an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you may be able to get compensation to help you manage those costs.

Call John R. Colvin today at 1-931-962-1044, or fill out our online contact form, to request your free, no-obligation consultation.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama