blog home Distracted Driving If a Distracted Driver Hits a Pedestrian, Who Is to Blame?

By Renee Nordstrand on December 20, 2017

person adjusting the radio volume in a car

Were you hit by a car driven by a distracted driver?

You are not alone. Every year in California, around 700 people are killed in pedestrian–motor vehicle collisions and thousands of others are injured. With the rise of distracted driving, these numbers are expected to increase. Santa Barbara, especially, has dangerous winding roads and any lapse of attention could lead to disaster for both the driver and anyone else on the road.

If a pedestrian is injured by a distracted driver, the driver is negligent. Negligence makes all the difference when determining who is responsible for paying for the injured person’s medical bills, property damages, pain and suffering, and more.

Laws Against Distracted Driving

In California, cell phone laws were passed to limit driver distractions. AB 1785 prohibits driving while holding a cell phone in your hand. The device is still allowed to be used hands-free (and simple taps and swipes are allowed, though not multiple swipes, scrolling, or tapping). If you’re under 18, you cannot use a device at all while driving, except in an emergency situation where law enforcement needs to be contacted.

The law does not go so far as to prohibit flossing, glancing at a map, shaving, or any other of the numerous distractions that people are continually coming up with while driving their cars. However, police are able to cite you under Vehicle Code Section 22350 and related sections, which declare that you may not drive a vehicle at a speed that “endangers the safety of persons or property.”

How Is California Making Pedestrians Safer?

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, California is taking the following behavioral safety measures to prevent pedestrian-related accidents:

  • Making September “National Pedestrian Safety Month”
  • Providing educational materials and working with local organizations
  • Providing and distributing pedestrian safety equipment including reflective arm and leg bands, crossing guard kits, etc.

In addition, law enforcement will be targeting “primary collision factors,” including crosswalks stakeouts, distracted driver operations, and having a presence at local high schools where accidents have been a problem.

Negligence and Your Options After an Accident

Even a minor collision with a vehicle can have serious consequences. For pedestrians, broken bones as well as spinal, neck, and head injuries can take months to recover from and completely change your lifestyle.

You’ve been hurt—can you hold the distracted driver liable for your injuries and their costs? Yes.

Drivers assume a certain responsibility for the safety of people around them. This is called a “duty of care,” and when drivers breach that duty, they are negligent and can be found liable in a court of law. Distracted drivers are not using the proper level of care to drive safely on the road, and if they hit someone, their negligence has a physical, financial, and emotional cost to the victim. Of course, proving liability is not always an easy task; an attorney can provide an in-depth understanding of the laws and research all factors underlying the accident, even working with accident reconstruction specialists and getting copies of phone records to prove that distracted driving caused a collision and a person’s injuries.

If you or someone you know has been struck by a car, you do not have to suffer in silence. Call our Santa Barbara car accident lawyers at NordstrandBlack PC today at (805) 962-2022 to discuss your case and talk about your options.


Posted in: Distracted Driving