Distracted driving cases are a specialized area of auto crash cases. The National Highway Traffic Safety Institute (NHTSA) estimates that distracted driving causes 10 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries each day, although the National Safety Council has suggested that these estimates are far too conservative. Unlike drunk driving there is no blood test to determine driver distraction at the time of the crash.
Trial lawyers are increasingly seeing auto crashes in their practices that are directly related to driver distraction. Whether it is a texting driver, a driver talking on a hands-free device, a driver utilizing voice-to-text features on smart phones or factory installed equipment or apps on smart phones, proof of distraction is critical and often can be challenging.
There is a burgeoning “science of distracted driving,” with studies being reported on an increasing basis as funding for research increases. These studies are being done by physicians, psychologists, neuropsychologists, and engineers and are often funded by cell phone providers, auto manufacturers, and insurers with vested interests in the outcomes. Trial lawyers need to be able to share resources in this specialized area of car crashes in order to best help our clients.
The group assists members in investigating and litigating claims related to distracted driving. The group also strives to increase national awareness to the dangers of distracted driving with the help of EndDD.org, a website devoted to ending distracted driving, which has partnered with AAJ over the last several years. This litigation group helps train and teach its members to give distracted driving presentations in their communities, to both civic organizations and schools.
Steven M. Gursten
Michigan Auto Law
30101 Northwestern Hwy.
Farmington Hills, MI 48334