Texting while driving is one of the biggest dangers on the road. Drivers whose eyes are focused on their phone in their hand or in their lap cannot adequately divide their attention. This distracted driving can slow down their reaction times – or make it impossible to react to sudden traffic changes.
If you or a loved one was hit by a driver who was texting or otherwise distracted by their cell phone, you may be entitled to damages if you take them to court. The texting and driving car accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm represent the victims of texting and driving and other car accidents. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (215) 246-9000.
Car Accidents Caused by Texting
Texting and driving was responsible for over 3,400 deaths and 391,000 injuries in 2015 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Other statistics point out that 1 in 4 crashes often involve cell phone use, and that around 33% of drivers report having taken time to read or write a text while driving.
Texting and driving is incredibly dangerous, especially at highway speeds, because it distracts you in three major ways. First, you have to take your eyes off the road to read or write a text. Experts say that it is usually safe to take your eyes off the road for up to 2 seconds, e.g. to check your speed or mirrors. The average time taken to send or read a text is 5 seconds – which keeps a drivers’ eyes off the road for too long. Driving at 55mph, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds means traveling over 134 yards – farther than the length of a football field – without looking.
Second, it takes the use of a hand to send a text. Barring hands-free devices that allow texting by voice, you need to remove at least one hand from the steering wheel to send a text. This makes it harder to control your car, especially if you drive a manual transmission vehicle. Third, your mental focus is interrupted. Focusing your concentration on the road and the situation in front of you helps you drive safer. Interrupting to think about your text can interrupt your cognitive function, distracting you from driving.
In a car accident caused by texting and driving, there is one notable danger that can make the accidents worst. In most accidents, the driver who caused the accident at least tries to brake or swerve to avoid the accident. When a driver is distracted, they may not even see the crash coming and may make no attempts to slow down or steer out of the way. This means texting and driving accidents often occur at faster speeds, causing more damage.
Suing for a Texting and Driving Accident in Pennsylvania
When you sue for injuries sustained in a car crash, you usually do so on the grounds of “negligence.” For a negligence lawsuit, rather than accusing the other party of intentional actions that caused you harm, you claim that the responsible party failed to use the proper care or level of skill, which caused your injuries. There must be a duty – a responsibility defined by law – that they breached for this case to succeed. Laws against texting and driving place clear restrictions on texting, and victims of texting and driving crashes can point to these laws to help them win their car accident lawsuits.
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to send any “text-based communications” while the car is moving. This includes texts, messages on social media, and any other situation where you may be typing. It is also illegal to read or write these messages, even if you do not send one. However, it is not illegal to search through your telephone numbers or dial a number, which makes this law hard for police to enforce. Still, even if the driver’s actions did not violate 75 Pa.C.S. § 3316 (the texting and driving statute), they may still be driving unsafely, in a general sense.
If you were involved in a car accident because of texting, you have plenty of ways to get evidence to prove your case. The other driver’s phone, phone records, and other information may be used against them. This can show the date and time of the text, and that it matches up with the time of the accident. Though the law in Pennsylvania is undecided as of the writing of this article, you may also be able to sue the person who texted the other driver if they knew that the recipient was driving when they sent the message. This could mean getting compensation from multiple sources for your car accident.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers Offer Free Consultations for Texting and Driving Victims
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver or texting while driving, contact our law offices today. The texting and driving car accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm represent the victims of texting and driving and their families in lawsuits against the negligent drivers who caused their car accidents. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (215) 246-9000.