Cell Phones are Responsible for 28% of Motor Vehicle Accidents
It is estimated that nearly 28% of all accidents involve drivers that are talking on their cell phones or texting while driving. According to the National Safety Council (NCS):
“1.4 million crashes each year involve drivers using cell phones and a minimum of 200,000 additional crashes each year involve drivers who are texting.”
NSC has called for a ban on cell phone use of any kind while driving. And although Indiana legislators have not heeded the call for restricting cell phones all together, Indiana’s ban on texting went into effect on July 1st, 2011. IC 9-21-8-59 addresses the use of telecommunications devices:
(a) A person may not use a telecommunications device to:
(1) type a text message or an electronic mail message;
(2) transmit a text message or an electronic mail message; or
(3) read a text message or an electronic mail message; while operating a moving motor vehicle unless the device is used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology, or unless the device is used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.
(b) A police officer may not confiscate a telecommunications device for the purpose of determining compliance with this section or confiscate a telecommunications device and retain it as evidence pending trial for a violation of this section.
The law is silent on making and receiving phone calls, surfing the web or checking GPS. This law is also problematic on the facility of enforcement since the burden of proof is upon the officer to prove that texting has occurred while driving. This law asserts the patrolling officer cannot legally check or seize the phone to be used as evidence in a trial.
How is it possible to cite a non-complying driver?
In the event of a tragic accident involving fatality, law enforcement is awarded the ability to pull phone records. In a case of wrongful death, proof of texting while driving increases the percentage of fault the texting driver and their insurance company must bear. See “What is Comparative Fault?” – a discussion about assigning a percentage of liability in Indiana tort claims. While one would think teens might be the largest offending group, the Pew Research Center has found that adults are equally as active both texting and talking while driving and probably carry on cell phone conversations behind the wheel more frequently than teenagers.
The conversation concerning texting and driving has raised the public’s awareness about the dangers and the consequences of distracted driving. How many of us have engaged in conversation while driving from one place to another and yet, when we arrive at our destination we don’t remember the events of the journey? Before you pick up your cell phone, dividing your attention between the wheel and the road, remind yourself that drivers using cell phones look, but fail to see, up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. Then think of your family and how much they love and depend upon you, and then consider that other drivers on the road have families too.
Be careful driving.
The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in wrongful death claims, auto accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident, and injuries associated with semi tractor-trailer accidents. Ward & Ward invite you to contact them to arrange a FREE initial consultation about your case, by phone at 317-639-9501, through their website at wardlawfirm.com, or simply by visiting their conveniently-located downtown Indianapolis office. If we decide your case has merit, you won’t be charged unless we recover damages on your behalf.