It’s estimated that Americans send about 8.5 billion text messages a day. This sheer number of text messages undoubtedly proves that the average American is on their cell phone a substantial amount of time.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report from 2012 found that approximately 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones or manipulating an electronic device at any given moment. This same report found that most drivers (74%) support bans on cell phone use, while the vast majority (94%) also wanted to ban texting while driving.
Recent research correlated texting bans with reductions in accident fatalities and serious injuries by 3 percent and 7 percent respectively.
With 38 of the States and the District of Columbia having anti-texting laws, there is a movement towards bringing criminal charges of motor vehicle homicide and negligent operation of a vehicle against drivers who have caused fatal accidents while texting.
While simple citations for texting while driving are typically a $250 ticket, repeated offenders can be subject to additional consequences including the suspension of their license.
But in severe cases, distracted drivers can be convicted of more serious crimes. For instance, in a landmark case in Massachusetts, an 18-year-old driver was convicted of motor vehicle homicide by texting and sentenced to two years in prison and a license suspension for 15 years. There was a similar ruling in Wisconsin, where a 19-year-old was found guilty of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and sentenced to three years of prison for hitting and killing a 21-year-old man who had pulled over on the side of the road.
With a total of 3,154 people killed and an additional 424,000 injured in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2013, criminal liability is being enacted in hopes of curbing the growing number of incidents.
Not only do drivers who have caused fatal accidents face criminal charges, but victims, and surviving family members, are also able to bring civil claims against distracted drivers.
- In Georgia, a jury awarded a 15-year-old victim, $1.5 million for injuries she received as the result of car accident caused by a texting driver who had struck her mother’s car. The girl was only seven at the time and suffered two temporal skull fractures, a fractured left eye orbital, and soft tissue damage.
- A Florida woman was awarded $4.3 million for traumatic brain injury that left her permanently disabled because of a collision caused by a distracted driver.
- In another Florida case, a jury awarded the decedents of a woman killed in an accident caused by a texting driver an $8.8 million verdict. The victim was pronounced dead the scene of the accident caused by a young male driver who was driving above the speed limit while texting his girlfriend.
With research comparing texting behind the wheel to be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, distracted drivers can cause fatal accidents that leave families mourning the senseless loss of a loved one.
Whatever the case should be, if you or a loved one has suffered injuries or loss of life because of another driver’s negligence, you’ll need an experienced law firm that isn’t afraid to fight for your due justice. With Garcia Law Group, PLLC on your side, you’ll have the proper guidance and representation to help guide you through the best course of action in the aftermath of a car accident.
Don’t hesitate to give us a call in your moment of need at (956) 661-8000