We’ve discussed distracted driving several times on this blog – in large part because it is such a pervasive problem in Missouri, Illinois, and the rest of the U.S. Distracted driving injures many people each day; statistics from 2009 showed that approximately 500,000 individuals suffered injuries attributed to distracted driving that year. The federal agency responsible for highway traffic safety indicates that approximately 3,000 fatalities on the road each year are due to distracted driving. If the act of distracted driving is so dangerous – and so widely-publicized – why, then, do so many victims still need to contact St. Louis personal injury attorneys to seek justice in a civil court of law?
Part of the answer is the fact that such a large number of people own cell phones. Estimates put the number of cell phone subscribers in our nation at somewhere around 300 million – and that number is growing exponentially each year. Approximately half of all Americans 18 and older now possess smartphones, which means they often text and surf the internet on their phones more often than those with simpler wireless phones.
At least one-fourth of Americans admit that they have engaged in dangerous tasks, such as texting, while driving their vehicles. While that number is disturbing enough on its own, these are just those willing to “fess up” about this risky habit. Chances are there are plenty of others who do this but aren’t willing to admit it until caught in the act: many times after injuring or even killing innocent victims.
States taking action to enact distracted driving laws
States across the U.S. are beginning to enact prohibitions against texting while driving or using cell phones while driving. Some states require hands-free devices to be used altogether, while others prohibit some classifications of drivers from any cell phone use while driving. These would include those who are beginning drivers along with school bus drivers. The U.S. government actually prohibited commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving their commercial vehicles in 2010. Unfortunately, however, this does not seem to prevent plenty of young drivers, school bus drivers, or commercial vehicle drivers from causing motor vehicle accidents while engaged in distracted driving related to cell phones.
Courts are taking a firm stand against those who choose to text and drive, and even in states where cell phone use is not prohibited while a person is driving, such usage could play into a jury’s determination of whether a driver was negligent in causing a crash while texting or talking at the same time as driving. While the act of using a cell phone while driving may not automatically mean a finding of negligence as a matter of course, it could be used by a judge or jury to determine that a driver was negligent in causing an accident while talking or texting on a cell phone.
Victims can take action against distracted driving as well
One of the most important things that an injured victim or surviving family may need to obtain in order establish this negligence is the applicable cell phone records of the driver believed responsible for causing the car accident. It may be helpful to obtain records from the entire day of the accident, since courts will often allow records into evidence even in circumstances where a call appears to have been made minutes before or after the crash. This is because not all clocks are perfectly synchronized with each other.
Those who have been injured in a car accident that they believe involved distracted driving or cell phone usage may wish to call 1-888-586-7041 as soon as possible to arrange a free consultation with my St. Louis personal injury law firm. I have been practicing as a trial and personal injury attorney for more than two decades and I am experienced in seeking the evidence necessary to establish negligence in cases just like this. My law firm will collect nothing unless we are successful in obtaining money for you, either through trial or settling the case. In the event I feel that I cannot help you, I will tell you that up front. You have nothing to lose to arrange a free consultation and you could have much to gain.
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