Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accident while texting? Here’s what you need to know
Texting while driving has become a major contributor to Australia’s growing road accident toll. And despite the dangers being well promoted, 1 in 3 people still admit to using their mobile phones to read, write and send messages while driving.
Across all states and territories, legislation only permits drivers to use their phones to make and receive calls via Bluetooth or voice activation, and then, only if the phone’s in a fixed cradle that doesn’t obscure the driver’s view. That makes it illegal to touch a phone for any other purpose including to text, email, use social media and video calls. The law also states that Learners, P1 and P2 drivers must not use a mobile device in any way at all.
Review the information below to learn more about:
- The dangers of phone use while driving
- The potential injuries phone distractions can cause
- Whether motor vehicle accident compensation can be claimed by distracted drivers
- How to make a claim as a victim injured by a texting driver
The dangers of texting while driving
There are hefty penalties in all states and territories to discourage drivers from texting while they are behind the wheel:
|New South Wales||Five demerit points + $337 fine|
|Victoria||Four demerit points + $484 fine|
|Queensland||Four demerit points + $1,000 fine|
|Western Australia||Three demerit points + $400 fine|
|Australian Capital Territory||Four demerit points + $447 fine|
|Northern Territory||Three demerit points + $250 fine|
|South Australia||Three demerit points + $308 fine|
Common injuries from car accidents while texting
Even with all the latest safety features fitted in cars these days, the human body is no match for the sudden impact of a car crash. Accident figures show that the most common types of injuries occurring in texting-related driving accidents include:
The human brain is vulnerable to injury at all driving speeds. Brain and head injuries occur as a result of a person’s head striking their vehicle’s interior or being struck by a loose object in their car. Injuries can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the degree of bruising, bleeding and swelling caused by the impact.
Whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end collisions or side-impact accidents where the muscles and tendons in the neck are hyperextended due to rapid and unexpected back and forth movement. Symptoms often begin to be felt 6 to 12 hours after the accident and can include pain, swelling and reduced movement in the neck, headaches, muscles spasms, pins and needles, numbness or pain in the arms, hands or shoulders, blurred vision, dizziness and ringing in the ears.
Spinal cord injuries
Paralysis occurs when a person’s spinal cord is so damaged in an accident that they lose the ability to move their arms and legs, and also lose feeling and sensation in much of the rest of their body.
The term to describe paralysis that leaves the victim with little to no movement or sensation from the neck down is Quadriplegia. Paraplegia is paralysis from the waist down.
Devastating, life-changing and requiring lifelong treatment, 39% of all spinal cord injuries are caused by car accidents, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Fractures and broken bones
The human skeleton is forced to absorb a huge amount of the impact in a collision, which can result in both minor and major fractures and breaks. The parts of the body most commonly injured in a car accident include:
- The ribs and sternum
- The collarbone (clavicle)
- Wrists and arms
- The hip (fracture of the upper femur)
- The lower leg (tibia and fibula)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The psychological trauma caused by a car accident can leave a driver, passenger or pedestrian with emotional scars that remain long after the physical ones have healed.
Sufferers may have intense and disturbing recollections of their experience, relived through flashbacks and nightmares. PTSD also increases the likelihood of other serious mental health conditions requiring extensive therapeutic support, such as:
- Depression and anxiety
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
What are the chances of getting in a car accident while texting?
Research reveals that people who use their phones while driving quadruple their risk of causing a serious crash. The risks increase even more when drivers take their eyes off the road to read, write or send text messages. Looking at a phone for as little as two seconds while driving at 60km/h is like driving with your eyes shut for 33 metres – more than enough time and distance to cause a serious crash with other vehicles and pedestrians.
How common are distracted driving accidents?
Recent reports suggest that inattentive drivers in Australia are now responsible for nearly 30% of fatal crashes and 45% of serious injuries. These numbers show no signs of slowing down, with a 2020 study by the Australian National Crash In-depth Study (ANCIS) finding that 42% of drivers admitted to using their phones to text while driving.
Can I get compensation if I’m injured in a road accident while texting?
Drivers and pedestrians who sustain an injury due to a road accident where the at-fault driver was texting may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. However, if you are the driver who caused the accident and have been charged, then you may not have access to the compensation you would otherwise be eligible for.
All states and territories require drivers to purchase Compulsory Third Party insurance, which provides some financial support to at-fault drivers if injured. To further understand the situation an at-fault driver faces, get in touch with our team of specialist lawyers.
Make a car accident claim today
LHD Lawyers help everyday Australians receive the benefits they are entitled to for Motor Vehicle Accident claims. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.