A possibly distracted driver crossed the center line and hit a fully-laden gravel truck head-on in the Hudson Valley.
The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office says 32-year-old Edward G. Allen, of Millbrook, crossed the center line in his 2006 BMW while travelling on Route 44 in Washington. The dump truck, which was driven by 47-year-old Richard Colesanti, overturned and lost its load; Mr. Colesanti was uninjured. However, Mr. Allen was killed in the wreck. Two young passengers in Mr. Allen’s vehicle – 3-year-old Codie Allen and 1-year-old Tatum Allen, were also injured.
Authorities are unclear what caused the distraction, but they do not believe it was a cellphone.
Much of the focus in this area is on cellphones, but these devices are certainly not the only things that cause drivers to lose focus on the road. However, they are about the only items that combine all three forms of distraction:
- Manual: Both hands should always be on the steering wheel; driving with one hand may not allow the operator to make even the most basic evasive maneuvers in an unexpected emergency.
- Visual: This area simply means taking your eye off the road. As the above story illustrates, and most drivers already know, it only takes a few moments of visual distraction to miss a turn or curve, especially on an unfamiliar road.
- Cognitive: Both hands can be on the wheel and both eyes can be forward, but a driver’s mind may be somewhere else. Incidentally, hands-free cellphones may make this type of distraction even worse.
Earlier this year, a Georgia driver received a ticket for eating a cheeseburger while driving. Such activity is very common and very dangerous, as it also involves all three types of distracted driving.
Whether or not the behavior violates the law, distracted driving is a breach of the duty of reasonable care. If such breach causes or contributes to a wreck, the damages may include compensation for both economic and non-economic losses.
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous operating habits. For a free consultation with attorneys who make negligent drivers pay, contact our office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a personal injury case.