Texting while driving is becoming one of the most common and deadly distractions while driving, especially among teens. One in four American teen drivers admit to texting while driving, and 40 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds say they have been in a car where a teen driver used a cell phone in a dangerous way. Any cell phone use, whether hand-held or hands-free, while driving is dangerous. Researchers have found that it quadruples crash risk. Just the act of dialing a cell phone increases crash risk by three times. In a naturalistic study of truckers, Virginia Tech researchers reported a 23-fold increase in risk of a crash or near crashes when drivers were text messaging.
Ten states, the District of Columbia (DC), Guam, and the Virgin Islands have instituted a hand-held cell phone ban for all drivers, with all but two of them making it a primary offense. Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. An additional five states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
Recently, a couple in New Jersey, who each lost a leg in an accident involving a teen driver who was texting, reached a settlement with the young driver. The couple stated that they were struggling financially because they are both unable to work as a result of their injuries. The couple still plan to appeal a judge’s ruling that the driver, Kyle Best’s, girlfriend, who had sent him the text message to which he was replying at the time of the incident, cannot be held liable for the crash.
Counsel for the injured couple argued that while Best’s girlfriend was not physically present at the wreck, she was “electronically present,” and asked that her liability be decided in the case. The girlfriend’s lawyer took the position that she had no control over when or how Best would read and respond to the message.
Best pled guilty to distracted driving, admitting he was using his cellphone and acknowledging a series of text messages he exchanged with his girlfriend around the time of the accident. Records show Best responded to a text from his girlfriend seconds before dialing 911.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident by a driver who was texting while driving, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884.