Numerous Arizona cities are enacting laws about texting and driving. Using a phone while driving is dangerous, and it puts other drivers on the road at risk. Recent laws aim to encourage drivers to put down their phones. Yet, many people do not recognize the dangers of texting while driving or they are sure that it will never happen to them. If you have suffered due to a driver using a phone while behind the wheel, you have the legal right to take action.
What Are The New Driving Laws?
Law enforcement continues to work hard to enforce these new laws, but that does not make it an easy task. First, consider a few key things. Numerous areas of the United States are seeing an increase in accidents caused by distracted driving which is the act of being distracted in some way when operating a motor vehicle. Using an electronic device is just one example. Talking to others, eating, smoking, or applying makeup (all common charges across the United States and District of Columbia) can be considered distracted driving.
In Arizona, a variety of changes are occurring. For example, in Surprise, Arizona, some of the most prohibitive driving laws are now in place. Individuals who send a text message or otherwise use any type of handheld communications device while they are operating a vehicle, could face fines and other penalties. It is possible to use a hands-free device for communication. Other cities, such as El Mirage and Glendale are working to put such laws in place as well.
Right now, only a handful of cities have enacted distracted driving laws, which makes it hard for drivers to know what their rights are from one city to another. Yet, cell phones while driving are always a risk. As a result, any person who is using an electronic device and operating a vehicle is responsible for any damage they cause to other drivers as a result of distracted driving. No law has to be present for a victim to seek damages for losses such as this.
Current Status of Driving Laws
In Arizona, there are a few key cities to pay close attention to when it comes to distracted driving laws. Here’s a breakdown of the most prominent laws going into effect.
In the community of El Mirage, the local council voted to ban texting and driving. Police officers will be pulling people over and initially offering a warning to educate drivers. However, after a warning, the fine for breaking this new law is $250 for a first time offender.
In Glendale City, a band on handheld cell phone use while driving is now in place. The law will have a warning phase as well. However, individuals could be fined significantly for the use of any handheld device while driving.
Consider the Risks of Texting and Driving
It seems simple enough. You just need to respond to a text message. You pick up your phone, open a message, and begin typing your reply. Within the few seconds it took to look at your phone and send a message, you could have been in a car accident, killing yourself or another driver as well as any passengers or pedestrians nearby. This is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents today. If you take your eyes off of the road, you cannot react fast enough to changes in traffic patterns, road conditions, or other drivers.
Consider these important statistics that shed light on the dangers of texting and driving. Specifically, consider young drivers.
- In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 263 teens, age 15 to 19 were killed in car crashes due to distracted driving.
- That accounts for 8 percent of all people killed as a result of distracted driving in 2016.
Teenage drivers are specifically at risk because they lack experience behind the wheel and may be more prone to reckless driving. Teens are four times more likely to be in an accident while using a cell phone than adults. However, the use of mobile devices behind the wheel by teen drivers is not exclusive to their generation. It impacts all ages.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides additional information about fatal car crashes. Each year, 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents that occur as a result of texting and driving. In fact, 1 out of every 4 accidents occurring in the U.S. is due to distracted driving.
Most Drivers Say They Text and Drive
Though many people understand the risks of driving distracted, the urge to pick up a ringing phone or respond to a text is sometimes hard to resist. About half of all drivers say they answer their cell phones when they are driving. Most people say they would not engaging in drunk driving, but distracted driving can be just as risky as driving drunk.
What Should You Do If You Are in an Accident with a Distracted Driver?
If you are involved in an accident with someone who was texting and driving, or someone who was otherwise distracted, your first step should be to pull over and call the police. Document what happened at the scene of the accident and take necessary photos of the vehicles involved. Documentation will be key to take legal action. There is no excuse for individuals to be on their phone putting you at risk.
Even if you are not in an area where these laws are in place, you have the right to compensation for any losses you have suffered due to the negligence of another driver. However, it can be very difficult to prove your case without the help of an attorney. For this reason, you should work closely with an attorney who can help you to prove your case.
Who Is Responsible – Getting Coverage for Your Losses
Your attorney will work with you to understand who is responsible for the incident. Generally, the police officer at the scene will determine who is to blame at the scene of the accident. From there, we can file a claim with the insurance coverage for that individual. The liability insurance from the other driver should provide financial compensation to you for most – if not all – of your losses. Those losses may include:
- Medical bills or any medical service costs you incur as a result of the incident
- Lost time at work or lost benefits at work due to missing time from the accident
- Costs related to long term care needs, such as rehabilitation services
- Property damage to your vehicle or other belongings related to the incident itself
- Pain and suffering claims
If someone has died as a result of distracted driving, it is critically important that you work with an attorney to prove your case and to obtain the compensation owed to you. This is far more extensive than medical bills.
It Was Just an Accident
A claim some drivers make is that they looked at their phone for just a second. They may even try to deny looking at their phone. Yet, the average person does this 23 times in a typical car ride. That’s not an accident. It takes just seconds for a person to cause an accident due to a glance at a cell phone.
Keep in mind that new laws are likely to continue to develop. You need to stay up to date on these to protect yourself as well. If you drive a vehicle and pick up your phone while driving, now is the time to break the habit. If you have suffered due to a distracted driver, we want to help you receive the compensation you are owed as a result.
What to Do If You Have Suffered as a Result of a Driver Texting and Driving
Distracted driving is a serious situation that can cause numerous losses. If you have been in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact Petersen Johnson to obtain legal representation. Our team will work with you to ensure you get the compensation owed to you. Call our attorneys at 602-285-6100 or contact us online.