Attorney Doug Horn comments on why he thinks distracted driving represents a new universe of risk for motorists in Missouri, Kansas, and across the U.S.  

As a crash lawyer with 25 years experience in motor vehicle accident law, I have had the opportunity to represent thousands of people who have injured or lost a loved one as the result of a car, truck, or motorcycle crash. However, since 2009, I have seen a steady increase in the number of collisions caused by a distracted driver using a cell phone or another portable electronic device. This dramatic increase in the number of distracted driving collisions is why I am suggesting that we are facing a new universe of roadway risk.

In fact, I think several things combine to create this new risk for motorists. First, the majority of drivers now have cell phones. Second, is the fact that cell phone use is both habit-forming and addictive. These two factors combine to create a large number of drivers who will put their own lives, and others’ lives, at risk by turning their attention away from the road to their cell.  

Couple this with the fact that drivers are not just using phones to talk and text, but, in fact,  using their phones for a whole range of other functions, including  navigation, emailing, browsing the internet, accessing apps, and updating social media. Finally, this new universe of risk is intensified by the fact that we are finding it difficult to find viable solutions to reverse the trending increase in distracted driving.

In my experience as a crash lawyer, I believe that distracted driving is becoming more dangerous than drunk driving. I back up this opinion because, first, there are more distracted drivers than drunk drivers. Therefore, the probability of a distracted driver causing a serious injury or fatality is much higher than an impaired driver causing a crash. Second, because distracted drivers ordinarily don’t have any reaction time to avoid a collision, distracted driving crashes typically produce more violent collisions, resulting in a greater probability of serious injury or death.

While there are a range of opinions on distracted driving, the point I am making is that  distracted driving is highly dangerous and on par with impaired driving. I also feel that the distracted driving crisis is going to get worse before better, especially in Missouri where we do not have a anti-texting/distracted driving law.

In large part this is why I am publishing an ebook dedicated to combating distracted driving. I have the ability to help in several ways. First, from a legal standpoint, victims of distracted driving, including families who have lost a family member due to a distracted driver, need to have their cases aggressively handled. This means structuring the case as an “aggravated liability” case such that recovery can be maximized.     

Second, my legal background has given me elevated insights into distracted driving prevention.  Last October I unveiled a distraction driving prevention program called  Drive By Example. More information about this program can be found on the Hornlaw.com website. I look forward in the coming weeks to providing additional resources dedicated to distracted driving prevention.