An over-the-shoulder shot of a woman about to apply lipstick while driving.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed the lives of over 3,500 individuals in 2021 alone.

Statistically speaking, this means that when you get in an accident with a distracted driver, the odds are pretty good you’re not walking away unscathed. You’re definitely going to have to deal with damage to your car, to say nothing of injury, pain, and suffering you have to go through.

Oh, and speaking of pain and suffering: you’re going to have to deal with your insurance company. And if anyone knows anything about insurance companies, it’s that they really don’t like handing out money.

So what do you do when the odds are this stacked against you?

Call us at Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers. Our expert distracted driving lawyers have what it takes to put you first and go head-to-head with the insurance companies just to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Why Work With a Salt Lake City Distracted Driving Accident Attorney?

In the aftermath of a distracted driving accident, our clients often find there are two main obstacles to their compensation: the at-fault driver and the insurance company. Let’s go over why they’re problems.

Filing Your Insurance Claim

Utah is a no-fault state. This means you have to turn to your insurance provider for compensation in the event of an accident, regardless of who caused it.

In a perfect world, your insurance provider will give a fair assessment of your damages and compensate you with enough money to cover all potential damages and injuries. But that is not what usually happens.

Insurance companies are businesses built on the hope that their clients do not get injured or lose property. So the fewer injuries and damages they identify when assessing your case, the more money they make.

That’s not inherently wrong, but it does put you at a disadvantage when making a claim. This is especially true when no one expects insurance clients to be experts in legal proceedings.

By working with a distracted driving accident lawyer, you even the playing field by having an expert who knows as much as the insurance provider’s representatives stand up for you. They can’t fool a lawyer on your side, so they square you a fair amount.

Dealing With the Distracted Driver

Sometimes, however, insurance won’t cut it. Utah’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) means you have at least $3,000 covering your injuries in addition to your vehicle’s insurance, but especially bad accidents can set you back tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In this scenario, a distracted driving accident lawyer can represent you in court when you sue the other driver. Compensation in such a case rests on proving that you were not more than 50% responsible for the accident, and that is what an attorney will work to accomplish.

Whether it’s your insurance company or the other driver you need to claim damages from, you will be spending time recovering and pulling your life together while your Salt Lake City personal injury law firm argues for compensation for:

  • your vehicle and other damaged properties;
  • your physical injuries;
  • your psychological health;
  • lost wages and future earnings due to injury

Understanding the Dangers of Distracted Driving

A specific image tends to pop up in our minds whenever we hear the phrase “distracted driving.” We tend to picture a driver with his eyes on his phone, possibly with only one hand on the wheel, and some kind of hazard, such as an oncoming vehicle or a slow-crossing pedestrian.

Considering 12% of distracted driving fatalities involve a cell phone in use, this isn’t surprising. Unfortunately, the cellphone stereotype often leads us to discount what distracted driving really is.

Distracted driving actually includes any activity where the driver turns their attention away from driving. So yes, this includes texting and calling, but also encompasses eating, drinking (any fluid and not just alcohol), and even simply conversing with people in the car.

When all these instances are taken together, distracted driving accounts for about 3000 deaths each year. This is between 8 to 9 percent of all fatal collisions on American roads.

Avoiding Distractions While Driving

Given the aforementioned levels of risk and danger, how do we reduce the odds of distracted driving accidents?

The answer might seem straightforward: just don’t drive distracted. But what does that mean, exactly?

How does one minimize the odds of distractions drawing their attention away while behind the wheel?

Avoiding Phone Use

Utah Code Section 41-6a-1716 expressly prohibits most cellphone use in a vehicle with the exception of a few instances:

  • When using a wireless communication device to connect with the phone;
  • When viewing a GPS or other navigation application;
  • During medical emergencies;
  • When reporting or requesting assistance regarding safety hazards;
  • When reporting or requesting assistance related to criminal activity;
  • When used by law enforcement or emergency services to perform their duties;
  • To operate hands-free technology or any systems integrated with the vehicle.

Violation of the section is considered either a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. For the most part, avoiding a violation just means avoiding using your phone while driving unless one or more of the conditions are met.

In the event you really do have to use your phone while behind the wheel, we recommend the following:

  • Look for a safe location to pull over before texting or dialing on your cell phone. We also recommend pulling over when changing destinations on your GPS device.
  • When possible, utilize hands-free technologies such as voice commands to interact with your phone.
  • Enable voice navigation so you do not have to glance at your phone to navigate.
  • Program your navigation application before entering the vehicle.
  • Especially on shorter drives, set your phone to “do not disturb” before entering the vehicle. You can always enable notifications after.

Food and Drink While Driving

Most of the logic behind eating and drinking while driving follows the same line of thinking as what we discussed regarding cell phone use. The best safety measure when it comes to eating and drinking while driving is not to do it at all.

The best practice is to pull over for a snack or to finish food and drink before ever getting into the driver’s seat. Even if you don’t have to look away from the road to take a bite, food items are large enough to block large swathes of your field of view at a time.

To add to that, greasy hands can pose a risk in that they could potentially slip off the steering wheel at the worst of times, leading to an accident.

Plus, let’s face it, food in the car is straight-up unsanitary in the first place and is hell to clean up after. No sane person wants grease on the steering wheel or food stains on the car seats.

Driving Conversation

We could recommend that, as with previous items on this list, it’s best to avoid conversation at all while driving, but uniquely, this might not always apply. Research has shown that conversations with a passenger have been shown to improve road safety in some cases.

A good conversation can keep drivers awake and alert, especially in heavy traffic. Light conversation, in particular, can potentially reduce the odds of losing your temper on the road.

That said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Extremely engaging conversation might lead inexperienced drivers to look away from the road, leading to accidents. Talking with people in the back seat is also dangerous because, unlike people in the passenger seat, they can’t see what you can.

So instead of saying, “Don’t do it,” we’ll instead say: be responsible with conversation while driving.

  • Do not take your eyes off the road, even if your partner directs your attention to something.
  • Do not turn to face the back seat. If you need to look at the back seat, use the rear-view mirror, or pull over.
  • Avoid stressful or overly stimulating topics.

Miscellaneous Distractions

Some things count as distracted driving without ever being explicitly mentioned or defined in the law. Adjusting the A/C unit, checking the glove compartment, reaching for items in the back seat, and other similar activities count as distracted driving.

Even paying attention to distractions outside the vehicle count as distracted driving. Turning your attention to a stray dog chasing your car is just as dangerous as any other example we have gone over, for example.

It takes discipline to avoid distractions, but anyone behind the wheel is expected by Utah law to possess that discipline. As a general rule, drive when you drive, and do nothing else (except maybe talk with someone in the passenger seat).

Choose Valley Law, Your Salt Lake City Distracted Driving Accident Law Firm

Here’s the truth: even if you follow our advice on this page to the letter, the odds of being involved in a distracted driving accident are never zero.

Just because you are a responsible driver who keeps your attention on the road does not mean everyone else is. And when you do get into an accident because another driver was distracted, you’re going to want the best legal help you can get.

That’s what our distracted driving accident attorneys at Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers offer.

We offer free consultations and case evaluations, and we do not charge you unless we win your case. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

If you’ve been in a distracted driving accident, Valley Law wants to help you get your life back on track. Let us deal with the paperwork, the insurance providers, and all the nitty-gritty so you can focus on getting your life back together.

Call us today at 801-810-9999 or contact us online. We’ll be waiting.

Questions you might have in your mind

So you met with your insurance provider, but you aren’t satisfied with the amount your insurance company wants to hand over to you after a car accident. What do you…

Yes, liability insurance often can and does cover your car if someone hits you, but only if the accident wasn’t your fault. But before making a liability claim, there is…

Additional Questions?

We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

Get in touch

Work with the team that cares

5255 S 4015 W Suite 207C,
SLC, UT, 84129, United States.

Call 24/7 801-810-9999

Directions Sign
Valley Law Accident & Injury Lawyers Logo

Book a Consultation

Find out why so many clients appreciate the amount of work we put into their case.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Brigham Richards
Receive top-tier legal guidance from a leading expert in the valley
Call to action

2021 and 2022 Gold Winner for Top Law Firm by Salt City Best


Call 24/7 801-810-9999