Drivers have been prone to distraction for various reasons for as long as cars have been on the road. However, with the advent of cell phones and mobile devices, the rates of distracted driving have skyrocketed in recent years, causing many to refer to it as “the new drunk driving.” According to the CDC, approximately 1000 people are injured every day in the U.S., due to distracted driving and the car accidents they cause—and nine people a day are killed.

It comes as little surprise that distracted driving has made our roads less safe, and when someone is injured due to another person’s distraction, it has the power to disrupt or ruin their quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about this important issue, as much to protect yourself as to keep from hurting someone else.

Distracted driving isn’t just caused by cell phones.

Distracted driving involves any action other than driving that takes your focus off the road. Cell phones play a big part, but you can be distracted by eating while driving, checking the GPS, putting on makeup, changing the radio station, fumbling for papers or even talking to a passenger.

It only takes 3 seconds of distraction to cause a crash.

A 2006 study found that 80 percent of crashes caused by driver distraction occurred within 3 seconds of the initial distraction.

Eating/drinking behind the wheel makes you 80 percent more likely to cause a crash.

That data comes from the NHTSA. In our hectic lifestyles, we like to call it “multitasking.” Actually, there’s no such thing. We focus on one thing at a time, and when we’re focused on taking a bite of that sandwich, we’re not focused on the road.

Distracted driving can make you legally liable in an injury accident.

Liability is attributed by fault, and if you are distracted while driving, you are considered at-fault in an accident. Conversely, if you are injured in an accident where the other driver was distracted, you have a right to compensation under the law.

Distracted driving can be difficult to prove.

Distractions can come and go within seconds, so even though most accidents occur due to some form of distraction, gathering verifiable evidence can be a challenge. (It becomes easier, however, if the at-fault driver was apparently texting while driving.) This fact underscores why you need a good personal injury attorney even if the other driver was obviously at fault.

If you’ve sustained injuries due to a distracted driving car accident, the law firm of Luis P. Guerra, LLC, can help you hold the at-fault driver accountable. Call us at 602-381-8400 for a free case evaluation.