No matter how focused a driver is, passengers can create distractions that cause them to lose focus. A passenger intentionally interfering with the driver is a worst-case scenario, and one that can cause car accidents that have serious consequences.
On April 6, 2014, a mother was driving in Fort Collins with her 25-year-old son as a passenger in the car. The pair got into a heated argument, and the young man was reported to have thrown his cell phone out of the window at one point. Since he had a history of trying to get out of the car while it was moving, his mother had enabled the car's child locks so her son was unable to get out of the car.
As the car neared the intersection of Lemay Avenue and Wheaton, the argument devolved into a physical altercation. The young man grabbed the steering wheel and turned it, which resulted in the car heading into oncoming traffic. It subsequently crashed head-on into an Audi, injuring the 40-year-old driver. The driver of the Audi along with the mother and son were taken to Poudre Valley Hospital, where all three were reported to have serious injuries.
According to the mother, her son had been drinking and was not thinking straight when he grabbed the steering wheel. He was subsequently arrested and booked on the suspicion of several counts of felony vehicular assault. According to court records, he posted a $15,000 bond and was released pending an upcoming court appearance.
Anyone driving a car must ensure that they are focused on the road. That includes avoiding activities like texting or talking on the phone as well as ensuring that passengers are not vying for the driver's attention. In this case, an innocent bystander suffered serious injuries due to an unruly passenger in another car. A legal professional is best placed to advise her of her right to seek recourse in civil court, including reimbursement for her medical expenses as well as additional compensation for her pain and suffering.
Source: The Coloradoan, "Police: Man grabbed wheel from mom, caused head-on crash" Jason Pohl, May. 08, 2014