A blonde driver talking on her phone while driving her vehicle.Distracted driving has been an issue since the advent of personal vehicles. However, today’s distractions are quite different from those of the past.

In our modern world, cell phones, in-car features, and other tech gadgets vie for our attention. Many drivers are attached to their phones and can’t go for long periods without checking texts, emails, or social media notifications.

Unfortunately, these new distractions have led to the rise of distracted driving accidents. Unfocused drivers cause crashes every single day across the United States.

Some of these collisions are small, while others are catastrophic. No matter the size of the accident, victims often face injuries, financial strain, and general stress after being hit by a distracted driver.

Support and personalized legal advice are just a call away if you’ve been involved in a distracted driving accident. Bert McDowell Injury Law helps personal injury victims in Connecticut go after all the compensation they need to repay their damages.

Attorney McDowell will help you understand the options for receiving compensation and guide you through the steps of seeking a claim. If you’re ready to speak with Bert about your case, give him a call at (203) 590-9169 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

Facts About Distracted Driving Accidents

Traffic safety data shows that Connecticut had 5,200 distracted driving accidents in 2022. Some of these accidents resulted in serious injuries, as well as deaths.

Further, estimates show that around 660,000 drivers across America are using their phones behind the wheel at any given moment.

While phones can be useful for organizing meetups, navigation, and communicating in case of a roadside emergency, drivers are often tempted to text, make calls, or even look at social media while driving. Studies show that people frequently answer or make calls, read or compose text messages, and check notifications behind the wheel.

People between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most likely to use their cell phones while driving, but people in all age groups are susceptible to distractions from phones.

Some other interesting facts about vehicle cell phone usage in Connecticut include:

  • Drivers with young passengers (under the age of 8) are most likely to use their phones while driving
  • Poor weather conditions don’t deter drivers from using phones — in fact, phone usage may increase during bad weather
  • Women are more likely than men to use their cell phones while driving

What Are Some Common Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents?

Unfortunately, people often get lulled into a false sense of security behind the wheel. A driver could spend days, weeks, or even months using their phone while driving or multitasking without consequences.

However, as we all know, accidents can happen in a split second. Even focused drivers can be caught off guard by bad weather conditions, unexpected maneuvers from other commuters, or obstacles in the road.

An inattentive driver is at a disadvantage since they have even less time and mental bandwidth to process road hazards. This is emphasized by the fact that drivers face all kinds of distractions, including the common ones listed below.

Cell Phones

Cell phones are far and away the most common distraction in the car. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) statistics show that cell phone use is a factor in 12 percent of all traffic accidents.

Cell phones have been distracting drivers since they became widely available, and as a result, 48 states now have laws against texting and driving.

In Connecticut, drivers over the age of 18 can only use hands free devices in cars. Drivers between the ages of 16-18 can’t use cell phones at all unless it’s an emergency.

Teens and young adults are among the worst offenders when it comes to in-car cell phone use. In fact, 1 in 4 teens admit to sending at least one text each time they drive, and 35 percent of teens report regularly texting and driving (despite the fact that 94 percent of teens say they understand the risks of using their phones behind the wheel).

Cell phones have made modern life incredibly convenient. They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so the government pours resources into educating drivers of all ages about the risks of using phones.

Connecticut participates in the nationwide U Drive, U Text, U Pay campaign, which brings awareness to the perils of distracted driving and aims to reduce cell phone-related accidents.

It’s worth noting that cell phones aren’t the only distracting devices that fight for drivers’ attention. Tablets, headphones, smartwatches, and other gadgets can be equally distracting and dangerous.


We all travel with passengers from time to time. Whether you carpool to work, drive a carload of kids to school, or take road trips with your friends, you should be extra vigilant when traveling with others. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a captivating conversation or to get distracted by kids goofing off or fighting in the car.

Searching for Objects in Your Car

If you’ve lost an object in your car, or if your kids are begging you to find a toy or snack that they’ve dropped, you might be tempted to feel around for the item while in motion. However, it is risky to take your eyes off of the road for any reason, no matter how urgently you want to find the missing object.

Music, Food, or Makeup

Fussing with the radio, eating food, and applying makeup are some other innocuous activities that can quickly turn dangerous if done behind the wheel. Many drivers take these small risks thinking that nothing will go wrong, but it’s always best to play it safe since you never know what dangers could arise on the road.

Accidents or Obstacles

Naturally, drivers notice accidents, stopped vehicles, and other abnormalities on the road. Situational awareness is important so that you can slow down, keep a safe distance from cars or people in the road, and leave plenty of space for law enforcement as they arrive to help.

Unfortunately, drivers might get too wrapped up in surveying a crash scene. Gawking in an accident is risky since other drivers can’t predict your movements and might not realize why you’re slowing down or stopping.

Obstacles in the road, like small animals, debris from other vehicles, or trash can also be distracting. By paying close attention, you can quickly assess whether or not an obstacle is a threat.

External Factors

Your state of mind can dramatically affect your focus and reflexes. If you’re suffering from an illness, struggling with tough news, or dealing with heightened emotions, it’s best to avoid driving until you can safely focus on the road.

Use ridesharing apps or public transportation until you feel up to driving again.

How to Avoid Distractions While Driving

All drivers have to contend with distractions. The best way to protect yourself is to set boundaries before you get into your car.

Put your phone in an inaccessible place and silence your notifications. Use hands-free options to take calls, and if you have to read or respond to a text, pull over before checking your phone.

Set up your music and navigation apps before starting your drive. If you’re traveling with kids, ensure they have snacks, bottles, or toys before you start driving so that you don’t have to dig around for items as you travel.

Keep anything that you might need within arm’s reach, as well. Finally, if you have to drive past an accident scene, keep your eyes on the road and follow the flow of traffic.

Alert drivers should also keep an eye on the behaviors of nearby commuters. A driver may be distracted if they are:

  • Swerving in and out of their lane
  • Slowing down or accelerating for no apparent reason
  • Failing to follow traffic signals (for example, sitting at a light even after it has turned green)

Every day, you’re bound to come into contact with drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road. You can always report negligent or dangerous drivers to law enforcement officials so that they can investigate incidents and keep our roads safe.

What Happens if You’re Hit by a Distracted Driver?

Connecticut has laws in place to protect victims of distracted driving incidents. Whether you were hit by someone who was texting while driving or struck as a driver gawked at another accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

Even small accidents can lead to injuries and trauma.

With mounting medical bills and an uncertain future, you’ll want Bert McDowell on your side to advocate for your rights. As an experienced Connecticut car accident attorney, Bert has helped accident victims throughout Connecticut secure the compensation they deserve.

He offers confidential consultations at his offices in Hartford, Bridgeport, and Stratford. Bert also works on a contingency basis, meaning he doesn’t get paid unless you secure a settlement or a jury reward.

Contact Bert McDowell Injury Law at (203) 590-9169 or fill out the online contact form to learn more about our services and schedule your free consultation today.