Texting and driving has raised serious concerns, particularly with the increase in car accident injuries and fatalities over the last few years nationwide, which has been attributed to in-car distractions caused by electronic devices, particularly cell phones. Despite actions taken by states and local municipalities to ban texting while driving, enforcement has been lukewarm, mainly because it can be challenging to catch drivers in the act.
Why is Texting While Driving Dangerous?
First, let’s look at the numbers. More than eight people are killed and 1,161 injured daily in the United States as a result of distraction-related car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in car crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.
At any given daylight moment across the U.S., about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving and that number has gone up steadily each year. Also, in 2015, the National Occupant Protection Use Survey reported that handheld cell phone use continued to be the highest among younger drivers, in the 16 to 24 age group.
NHTSA defines distracted driving as any action that takes the driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or attention away from the act of driving. It is worth noting that texting does all three. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Laws and Liability Issues
At this time, in Arizona, there is no statewide ban on texting and driving. Some cities, such as Tempe, Phoenix and Tucson have passed citywide ordinances, which ban drivers from texting while driving within those cities. And laws have been passed to prevent certain workers such as school bus drivers, from texting while driving. However, Arizona drivers can still get in trouble for texting while driving.
If you are involved in an accident where the other driver was texting and driving, you may file a claim or lawsuit against that driver for negligence. Texting while driving does amount to negligence. In such cases, injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In addition to facing criminal charges or citations, distracted drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. In cases where a texting and driving crash leads to a death, families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties seeking damages.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a Mesa texting and driving car accident, it is important that you contact an experienced Mesa car accident lawyer who will remain on your side, fight for your rights and help you secure fair and full compensation for all your losses while holding the at-fault drivers accountable. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will know and understand all aspects of a car accident investigation including obtaining cell phone records, which could be a crucial piece of evidence in such cases.