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Car Accidents, Cell Phones And Liability

By Expert Author: R. Klettke

Which driver do you think is more dangerous? A drunk driver, or a driver who is talking or texting on their cell phone? You may be surprised to learn what experienced personal injury lawyers who handle car accidents already know: a driver who is talking or texting on a cell phone can be just as distracted, and therefore just as dangerous as a drunk driver.

As cell phone technology finds its way into more and more cars, more and more car accidents are occurring as a result, causing injury to person and property. As a result, a much greater amount of litigation is occurring as these personal injury attorneys who specialize in car accidents (you can find them by looking under “car accident attorney”) are filing a greater number of lawsuits claiming that drivers who talk on the phone are liable for the accident.

One study carried out by The University of Utah demonstrated that a cell phone-using driver drove just as poorly as a driver whose blood alcohol level was 0.8%. This study visibly demonstrated how the cell phone driver’s ability to handle a vehicle was as poor as a legally intoxicated individual. But the statistics must be better when the driver is using a hands-free device, right? Wrong! The University of Utah study, as well as other studies, demonstrated little or no difference between the use of hand-held vs. hands-free devices with respect to the degree of driver distraction and driver performance.

The results of over 100 studies reviewed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that all drivers who used cell phones while driving were subject to some form of impaired driving facility, such as speed fluctuations, erratic steering wheel control, and decreased reaction time.

So as many drivers over-estimate their ability to multi-task and talk-and-drive or text-and-drive, we continue to see thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries, and millions of dollars of property damage every year in the United States alone due to cell phone use while driving, even in some states where laws have been put in place to address the problem.

In the state of California, it is illegal to use a non-hands free cell phone while driving. The text of the California Vehicle Code Section 23123 states that “ a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.” Furthermore, it is illegal to use the phone to ”write, send or read a text based communication” (Section 23123.5).

If you are injured by the actions of a driver using a cell phone inappropriately, that driver can be held liable. A car accident attorney can subpoena cell phone records and help prove that the driver was distracted when he caused the accident that caused injury to you and/or your property.

R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.

Important Advisory: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you or anyone else should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.

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