If you’ve turned on the news at all over the past few years, you’ve probably heard of a multitude of new laws being passed regarding texting and driving. Accident attorneys and safety professionals alike warn that this common practice is very dangerous and has lead to numerous accidents all over the country. Unfortunately, drivers right here in Tennessee are among the worst.
Texting and driving has serious consequences for those who get into accidents because of it. Learn about texting and driving in Tennessee, and discover how a skilled auto injury attorney can help you navigate the complex process of proving liability and getting the damages you’re owed.
Texting and Driving in Tennessee
If you’ve spent any time on the road in Tennessee, you’ve probably noticed quite a number of aggressive drivers. People can be unnecessarily aggressive, may cut other drivers off and frequently text and drive, among other infractions. With these tendencies, hit and run incidences and driving fatalities are much higher than they should be.
Every year, the number of traffic fatalities seems to increase. Some argue that texting and driving is one of the most significant driving forces behind that increase. While it surely plays a major role, any kind of distracted driving can lead to harmful accidents that could have been avoided.
In response to these accidents, numerous laws have been passed that restrict distracted driving. The law has not implemented a complete ban on driver cell phone usage, so it’s important to know the specific instances when you’re legally not allowed to be on your phone. If you’re over 18 and are at a stop, it’s actually legal to text when behind the wheel. Once your vehicle is in motion, however, it’s completely prohibited.
If you’re driving through a school zone, you are completely prohibited from using your cell phone unless you have a hands free device. Tennessee is actually quite strict about cell phone use within school zones. Even school bus drivers are prohibited from using any kind of electronic devices when at least once child is aboard.
Dangers of Texting and Driving
When cell phones first became popular, accidents caused by people talking on the phone increased. Despite the fact that they could still watch the road, only keeping one hand on the wheel posed a serious risk to their safety. With the rise of texting, this problem only got worse. Texting not only requires you to use at least one hand to operate your phone, but you also have to take your eyes off the road to type. In the worst case scenarios, people use both hands to text and either attempt to steer with their knees or leave the steering wheel untouched.
One proposed solution to this problem was hands free devices. You could connect your phone to your car and use a headset to talk while keeping both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. There have been incidents, however, in which people have lost focus and crashed because they were fiddling with their headset or dealing with poor sound quality.
Modern technology has taken the handsfree solution a step further by eliminating the need for a headset or earpiece. Many new cars come equipped with microphones and Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to operate your phone and answer phone calls without ever having to take your hands off the wheel. With voice recognition technology, you can even send texts simply by saying the words. While this seems like the perfect solution, the most dangerous aspect of all of this is the act of having a conversation. Emotionally charged conversations are distracting, but even casual talk can cause you to lose focus on the road.
Liability in Car Accidents Caused By Cell Phone Use
If you’re the victim of a car accident caused by cell phone use, there are special considerations when determining liability. To win a car accident suit, you have to demonstrate that liability rests with the defendant. If they were on their cell phone during or leading up to the accident, you can use that to determine liability.
To prove negligence, you have to show that the other driver was driving carelessly. Using a cell phone would qualify in several different ways. Driving with only one hand on the steering wheel is considered careless, as is taking your eyes off the road to dial a number, send a text or anything else. Drivers can even be held liable if they’re distracted by their passenger’s cell phone. With a skilled accident attorney, you may even be able to argue that engaging in the conversation itself was careless.
Cell phone use in car accident cases also grants opportunity for lawsuits to expand beyond the other driver. If the other driver was on a business call during or leading up to the crash, their employers could potentially be at fault by allowing them to be in that position in the first place. It’s very common for employers to be targets of these kinds of lawsuits since they typically have more money to offer than their employees.
Tennessee Auto Injury Attorney
If you’re looking for an auto injury attorney in Tennessee, Mitch Grissim & Associates is happy to help. With our extensive experience and history of success, you can be sure your case is in the hands of an accident attorney you can trust. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation, and find out how much your case is worth.