The rise of smartphones makes us more connected to other people in incredible ways. They have altered how we communicate, and how easily we connect with people, information, and the world. Cars once changed society as much if not more. Before cars, the average American rarely, if ever, traveled outside of their hometown. Cars altered how we live forever. Put these two incredible technologies together, and the world moves faster than ever. Information and connection are at our fingertips. However, using our smartphones while driving makes everyday life far more dangerous than it needs to be. We have seen a large increase in car accidents caused by cell phone use. The accidents are usually serious and often result in life changing injuries and sometimes even death.
The most dangerous activity involving a cell phone and operating a motor vehicle is texting and driving. Due to the fact that the driver cannot possibly look at both the roadway and their phone at the same time, this attempt at multitasking often leads to car accidents. As San Diego’s leading car accident law firm, we want people to be aware of the risks and consequences and to STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING!
Doing Our Part
Batta | Fulkerson Law is partnering with the popular radio station of Jam 95.7 to promote safe driving and to help raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Since most people listen to the radio while driving, we are doing our part to reach drivers and remind them to not text and drive. Although we are car accident lawyers, and we make a living helping victims of car accidents, we do not want to see anymore of these tragedies that are so easy to avoid. We see lives turned upside down everyday and many of these situations could be easily avoided simply by putting the cell phone away while driving.
As experienced car accident lawyers, with over 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law, we have spent many weekends and nights meeting and helping people injured in accidents that were caused by distracted drivers. These accidents, like drunk driving accidents, are particularly heart-breaking because they are entirely and easily avoidable.
While phones are important for connecting us with our loved ones, we want to remind everyone that a single text while driving can steal a lifetime from our brothers, sisters, parents, or children. It isn’t worth it. It can wait.
Distracted Driving is Dangerous Driving
When we think of dangerous driving, we usually think of driving while impaired (DUI or DWI). While 28 people are killed each day by drunk driving, accidents caused by “distracted driving” are catching up.
According to the CDC, about 9 fatal accidents and more than 1,000 people are injured daily involve “distracted drivers.” During daylight hours alone, more than 660,000 drivers are distracted from using cell phones or other electronic devices. That number seems low as over 90% of people drive to work in America.
Distracted driving includes eating and drinking in the car, switching radio stations or CDs, applying makeup, and texting or talking on the phone. OF all of these, texting is especially dangerous because reading or sending a text takes at least 5 seconds. When driving at 55 mph, reading a text is like driving more than the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
How many drivers do you notice are looking down in their laps or holding their phone in front of them while driving? Not only do people cause more congestion and stalls at traffic lights, but they also create dangerous conditions for everyone on the road, pedestrians included.
A text or a phone call can always wait until you are done driving. If it is that important, stop and park somewhere safe until your phone call or texting conversation is over. People’s lives are more important than texting.
Laws Against Distracted Driving
One out of every four car accidents involves a driving distracted by cellphones. It is becoming such a problem that 15 states have banned all hand-held phone use while driving. Of the states that haven’t outright banned cellphone use, 47 states do have a ban on texting and driving. Regardless of the legality of driving while texting or looking at social media with our phones, the dangers of using cell phones while driving surpass any fine that could come from texting and driving.
Fines are increasing, and the overall consequences are becoming more severe. In California, a first offense will end up costing you more than $150 while a second offense runs over $250. These are for non-accident violations. A police officer can pull anyone over for suspicion of driving while texting or calling on a hand-held device.
If it is determined that you were texting or calling on your phone at the time of an accident, it is likely that you will be held liable for damages and injuries. Some exceptions do occur, like if you were the one rear-ended at a stop-light.
In addition, many states are now issuing serious criminal charges when someone is injured or killed by an individual that is texting and driving. These criminal punishments have huge, life changing consequences with long prison terms. Unfortunately, hundreds of individuals fail to listen to the warning and dangers and forever change their lives by simply taking their eyes off the road to send a text message. No matter what the message is, it can wait. It is not worth changing your life, and potentially someone else’s life, forever.
If you are involved in an accident, it is crucial for you to be aware of all the factors that can go into establishing fault. Hopefully, no one is injured in the accident. Health and well-being are more important than material damages to cars, so make sure everyone is okay before assigning blame. No matter what the situation is, health is the number one priority, so make sure anyone that may be hurt is attended to immediately. If there are serious injuries, immediately call 911 and wait for emergency responders to arrive.
The next thing you need to do is exchange insurance information, Driver’s License information, and license plate numbers. If there are injuries, call 911 for police and first-responders. During this time is when you will likely start to discuss fault and liability with the other party involved.
If someone does admit to being distracted by their phone, make sure you document it for the future. To make it easy, get a video recording of them accepting responsibility and admitting to being on the phone at the time of the accident. You cannot trust someone to be honest later on so make sure to protect yourself by gathering whatever proof you can. Remain calm, make sure to relay that information to the appropriate persons, and contact a car accident attorney.
It is also important to get as many pictures as possible. In 2018, as we have discussed in this article, we all have smartphone with cameras. Take pictures of everything. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, take pictures of any injuries, take pictures of the scene, and take pictures of the other party’s information. This will make it so much easier on you later on when this evidence is needed.
Batta | Fulkerson Law is not only the top car accident law firm in San Diego, we are invested in making our communities and roads as safe as possible for everyone. Help us limit the devastation and pain caused by car accidents by not texting while driving. Spread the word and keep yourself and your loved ones accountable. Simply by spreading the “NEVER TEXT AND DRIVE” message, lives can be saved. Together, we can protect lives and continue enjoying each other’s company by waiting to text until we have stopped driving.
If you ever know anyone that has been inured in a car accident or motorcycle accident, and you need a car accident lawyer or motorcycle accident lawyer, we are always here to help or answer questions. We have seven injury attorneys in our office that are all dedicated to helping the victims or car and motorcycle accidents. We are very aware of the reputation of “Injury Attorneys” but we promise is you give us a chance, we will show you why we are different; why we are attorneys you can trust.