Accidents Involving Cellular Phones, Text Messaging and Similar Devices
Distracted driving significantly increases the risk of an accident. A number of studies have now shown beyond any doubt that the cellular phone conversation is a major distraction. While cellular distraction is cited as a major concern for more than 80% of all drivers, those particularly at risk with distracted driving are teens. Another experiment by the University of Utah showed that the cell phone use reduces reaction time even more than a legally prohibited blood alcohol level.
The explanation for the heightened risk is that there is a dramatic drop in your concentration while you are talking on the phone. When a person performs two tasks at once, the brain has a reduced ability to perform either one. The National Transportation Safety Board has found that a distracted driver responds up to 1.5 seconds more slowly to a road hazard than a focused driver, and that is an eternity behind the wheel. A 2008 study by Carnegie Mellon University scientists emphasized that the act of listening itself, even without dialing, holding a phone, or even talking is a major health risk. The studies show that merely listening to someone talk to you while you drive reduces by 37 percent the amount your brain can devote to driving tasks.
A landmark 2006 study by the National Highway Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed that nearly 80 percent of all traffic accidents involve some form of driver’s inattention, with use of cellular phones and similar devices, the most rapidly increasing form of distraction. In 2010, the National Safety Council released a study showing that 28 percent of all traffic accidents happened while a driver was using a cellular phone or texting. Especially disturbing is the vast underreporting of fatalities and accidents where cell phone use is suspected.
In 2011, the NTSB called for a nationwide ban on all use of cellular phones and similar devices such as texting despite massive lobbying efforts by the cellular phone industry. A number of states and local jurisdictions have enacted laws making it illegal to drive while using some or all types of hand-held communication devices. If you had a traffic accident and someone was on the phone or texting, you have a powerful argument that using the device, by itself, means the other driver was at fault. You can make the other driver’s phone or text use an essential part of your demand for compensation. If the accident occurred in a state or city where phone use or texting is illegal, your argument is even stronger.
Of course, making an argument about the danger of cellular phone use or texting depends on being able to show that the other driver really was using the phone or other device. The police report might so indicate or a witness in your vehicle or another vehicle may say so, even if you have no support but truly did see the other driver on the phone or texting. It should be raised as a point in the lawyer’s demand for compensation.
David K. Kremin & Associates, and its affiliated law firms have worked on hundreds of cases where the responsible party was driving while on a cellular phone, texting or using some other device. If you were involved in an automobile accident and the driver was using a cellular phone or texting, please contact our attorneys for a free consultation at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529. We never charge unless we collect money for you.