Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is arguably the single leading cause of car accidents resulting in serious personal injury or wrongful death.   Just think of all the distractions every driver encounters while operating an automobile:  Dialing a phone number or writing a text on your cell phone, reading the back of a CD, putting on make-up while looking through the rear view mirror, eating lunch, operating the radio, and the list goes on.

“A May 7 report by the National Safety Council revealing that distracted drivers present an even greater threat than previously documented should serve as a “call for action.” The NSC article is titled “Recent analysis indicates cell phone distracted driving crashes vastly under-reported.”  Likewise, “when accident causes are under-reported, it becomes more difficult to pass stricter laws to protect the rights of innocent motorists who are the victims of reckless drivers”.  Read full article at http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1255479#ixzz2VbzlYO15

As a fellow driver in the Dallas area, you can look around at any given time and find someone talking or texting on their cell phone.  With cell phones and GPS devices becoming common-place, some states have implemented laws to address the growing problem of distracted driving.  In Texas for instance, use of a cell phone in a school zone can lead to a $200 fine even if you otherwise complying with all other traffic laws.

But when distracted driving leads to an auto accident, the problem facing the accident investigator and personal injury lawyer is proving it.  Rarely does a police officer report the use of a cell phone as a contributing cause of an accident .  This because of a lack of reliable evidence.  Under normal circumstances, one driver might tell the investigating officer that they saw the other driver using their cell phone at the time of the accident.  But unless the other driver admits to using their cell phone, there is usually no way to verify that fact.  In more serious accidents, however, officers might conduct a more thorough investigation to verify a driver’s use of a cell phone.  But such in-depth accident investigations are conducted very infrequently resulting in distracted driving being statistically under-reported in car accident cases.

Your car accident lawyer is also faced with a similar problem.  The allegation of cell phone use during the insurance claims process is equally difficult to prove since there is usually no independent proof.  If the claim advances into litigation, your lawyer might be able to get copies of the other driver’s cell phone bill.  But with mobile family plans and multiple cell phones included on one account, how can your lawyer prove which phone actually belongs to the driver.  Even if your lawyer can verify the other driver’s use of a cell phone, the other driver can merely say that the call ended a minute or two before the accident.

When it comes down to it, unless you have a credible witness to the other driver being distracted while driving, you probably cannot rely on the other driving admitting it.  There exists the irony that even though common sense dictates that distracted driving leads to most car accidents, the lack of any independent or reliable proof leads to these factors being statistically under-reported.

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