Friday, May 29, 2015

Holding Drivers Responsible for Texting and Driving

In modern times, everyone tends to multitask. With busy schedules, it often seems as if there are not enough hours in the day, so people try to accomplish several things at once. While multitasking is often considered a skill, no one should ever try to multitask while they are behind the wheel of a car. When a driver engages in other tasks while operating a vehicle, the distraction can easily lead to accidents and injuries.

Distracted driving has become an even greater problem with the rise of mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). People feel the need to be connected at all times, which often leads them to use their read or send messages while they are driving. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports1 that an estimated 660,000 drivers in the United States are actively using some type of electronic device at any given moment during the day. In light of the above statistic, it should not come as a surprise that thousands of people are injured as a result of texting and driving each year.

The dangers of texting and driving
Traffic experts estimate that drivers who are texting look down and away from the road for an estimated five seconds at a time. While five seconds may not seem like that long, a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour can travel the length of an entire football field in that time. A driver would likely never consider driving a football field while blindfolded, however, they will look away from the road to read or send a text message or email.

In addition to looking away from the road, a texting driver also must take at least one hand off of the wheel, if not both. A driver's thoughts will also turn to the messages and will not remain focused on the task of driving. Because texting causes visual, physical, and cognitive distractions all at the same time, it is widely considered to be the most dangerous type of driving distraction in modern times. In spite of the educational efforts to communicate the dangers of texting and driving to young drivers as well as the laws against texting and driving, statistics suggest that drivers continually put other at risk of injury by texting.

Texting and negligence per se
Florida law2 prohibits texting while driving, which also includes emailing or any other type of electronic messaging. Following an accident, a driver may receive a citation for texting and driving if law enforcement believes they were violating the law. Such a citation can help in a subsequent auto accident claim in civil court because it lessens the amount of evidence an injured party will need to present to prove their claim.

Generally, a personal injury plaintiff must sufficiently prove that a driver was negligent. This includes proving the following:

  • The defendant had a certain duty of care
  • The defendant breached that duty of care
  • The breach of duty caused the accident and injuries

When a defendant violates a safety law, a court may use this violation as sufficient evidence to automatically prove negligence under a legal concept called “negligence per se.” This serves as a type of short cut in proving negligence and requires a plaintiff to only prove the losses they suffered as a result of the texting and driving.

How an experienced Clearwater auto accident attorney can help you
If you have suffered injuries in an accident and you believe that the other driver was texting or otherwise unlawfully using a mobile device, your first call should be to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer at the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida. Our attorneys provide the highest quality of representation and individualized attention for each client. We are committed to helping injured motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians hold distracted drivers accountable for their negligent actions and ensuring that victims receive the maximum amount of compensation they deserve in every case. We offer free consultations with no obligation and never collect a fee unless you are able to recover in your case. Call today for help at 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756


1 comment:

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