What constitutes distracted driving in Missouri?
When you get into a car accident in Missouri, one of the steps in pursuing a lawsuit is determining who was at fault. Missouri is a comparative negligence state, meaning that how much compensation you can recover for personal injury depends on how much at fault you were for the accident.
It will be in your favor to prove as much fault on the other driver’s account as possible. One way to do this is by showing the driver was distracted. You may not think this is applicable in your case because the driver was not talking or texting with a handheld cellphone. However, cellphone usage is only one of many distractions a driver may engage in. These are other common ones you may see.
Eating and drinking
Eating and drinking on the road is a habit for most people. That is why fast-food drive-throughs exist, right? Despite popularity, eating and drinking are not safe to do while driving. They require hands that should be on the steering wheel and eyes that should be on the road.
Interacting with passengers
Sometimes drivers can get into arguments with their passengers or deal with kids who are crying or fighting in the back. These stressful situations can lead to accidents. Other times, drivers may be playing with or taking care of their dogs or other pets inside the car.
Was the driver fiddling with the radio or other car settings? Did he or she try to grab something out of reach? Was the person putting on makeup? Anything that takes hands and focus away from the road is a distraction.
Using hands-free devices
Although using hands-free electronic devices is not illegal in Missouri, that does not mean it is safe. On the contrary, the risk of accident is still high due to mental distraction from participating in another task. The brain cannot do two things at once with full attention, reports the National Safety Council, so a driver can still be at fault for distracted driving even without a cellphone in hand.