Injury Cases

Injury Cases from Distracted Driving on the Rise

Each day in the United States more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Philadelphia Accident Lawyer John Fox has observed an increase of injury cases due to distracted drivers.

There are three main types of distraction seen in injury cases:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off what you are doing.

Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction.

Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.  In 2010, nearly 1 in 5 crashes (18%) in which someone was injured involved distracted driving.

A CDC study analyzed 2011 data on distracted driving, including talking, texting, and reading email behind the wheel.  Texting takes the driver’s attention away from driving more frequently and for longer periods than other distractions and; younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 are at increased risk, as they have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.  Many states are enacting laws to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and to keep it from occurring.

Philadelphia Accident Lawyer, John Fox, cites the case of Matt Cruz as a tragic victim of distracted driving.  A Neshaminy High School sophomore, Matt was one of 42 passengers on a bus when it struck an overpass in Boston.  The bus struck an overpass and its roof caved in, injuring more than 30 people aboard.  The Cruz family has sued the bus company Calvary Coach, and driver Samuel J. Jackson, 66, alleging that Jackson should have seen height-restriction signs.  It was reported that Jackson was looking down at his GPS and missed the signs.

Matt Cruz, pictured above, was among the most seriously injured.  Matt remains in critical condition, with several fractured vertebrae. He had fluid in his lungs, a severe laceration to his scalp, and pneumonia. At this point, his injuries have left him incapable of moving.   On Thursday, Matt underwent surgery to insert a tracheostomy tube. His mother spoke by phone during the procedure.  When not sedated, she said, Matt is alert and aware, watching television and able to alert doctors if he is in pain.

“He’s still Matt,” she said.  Still, his recovery is expected to be arduous, she said. Her son still needs a ventilator to breathe, and is unable to speak, communicating by mouthing words or moving his eyes.  No date has been set for Matt’s release from Boston Medical Center, even to a hospital closer to home.  “The hardest part is just watching him suffer, day in and day out, and he did nothing to deserve it,” Cruz said. “He did nothing wrong.”

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