One of the hottest topics when discussing driver safety these days is “distracted driving.” This focus on distracted driving is justified as according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there were 3,450 deaths and 391,000 motor accident injuries in 2016 alone that can be attributed to it. Distracted driving is a term that encompasses a number of activities that take a driver’s attention away from the road which includes, talking on the cell phone, texting, eating and drinking, adjusting the stereo or talking with passengers.
Texting is likely the most dangerous of all of these activities. Sending or reading a text takes an average of 4.6 seconds which means that at 55mph a distracted driver will have traveled the entire length of a football field while not watching the road.
While there are no comprehensive Arizona anti-texting laws, cities such as Tucson and Phoenix have local laws governing cell phone use while driving. The Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles publishes valuable information on the legal ramifications of using handheld devices while driving but there may be hidden unintended consequences of your use of a cell phone while driving that you should be aware of.
If you are injured in an accident that was caused by another party’s negligence, you may be asked whether you were actively using your cell phone at the time of the accident. The insurance companies can even go so far as to subpoena your cellular phone records if they suspect that you were using your cell phone at the time of the accident. The purpose of this inquiry is to assess part of the blame for the accident on you and your inability to react quickly in order to avoid collision on your cell phone usage. The irony of this is not lost on us, you are injured in an accident and the insurance company tries to place blame on you for failing to avoid an accident caused by their negligent client in an attempt to limit your settlement. In other words, you may lose part or all of your settlement if you were using your cell phone at the time that you were injured by another party!
If you have been injured in an accident, call the experienced attorneys at Simmons & Greene for assistance.