Some Montana motorists might be surprised to learn that according to a survey conducted by AT&T, more than two-thirds of the respondents admitted to using their smartphones while driving. In a different report from the AAA Foundation for Traffice Safety, distracted driving overall was highest in the 19-24 age group with 88 percent reporting at least one reckless behavior while they were behind the wheel.
Social media appeared to be a big temptation among drivers of all ages. More than one-fourth of the AT&T survey respondents said they used Facebook while driving. Twitter and Instagram were both used by 14 percent each. More than 10 percent admitted to using Snapchat or making a video while driving, and 10 percent said they used video chat.
About 4,000 to 6,000 people die each year from accidents that involve a distracted driver, and another 400,000 to 600,000 are injured annually. Several organizations have become involved in trying to raise public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and of using smartphones and other devices while driving.
Not all distracted drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents will face criminal charges. However, a person who is injured might want to file a civil lawsuit against the driver with the assistance of an attorney. This might be the case if the victim has expenses that are not covered by a settlement offer from the at-fault motorist's insurance provider. A personal injury lawsuit can be successful even if there were criminal charges and the motorist was found not guilty. This is because the burden of proof on the plaintiff is lower than that on the prosecutor in a criminal case.