Nearly everyone has a smartphone that they carry them with them all day long. If we leave the house and forget our phone, we will turn around to go get it. Smartphones are a great invention that allows us to make calls, get directions, search for information, shop online, check emails and Facebook notifications. However, they can also be dangerously distracting and, if not used responsibly, can ruin lives.
If someone is distracted by their smartphone while driving, the risk of causing an accident is ten times greater. The risks do not stop at distracted drivers, however. People have walked out into traffic while checking their Facebook, emails or texts. Others have stepped off a cliff face while attempting to take a “selfie” photo.
Beyond the obvious safety risks, smartphones can also distract us from important conversations with family, friends or business. When you go out to dinner, just take a look around you. There is a certainly a high chance of spotting families or groups of friends focused on their phones instead of enjoying each other’s in-person company. Just think about the important details of a business deal or the story of a family member or friend that could be missed because of this high-tech distraction. Parents miss valuable time with their children by being absorbed by that little screen, with their kids learning from this bad habit instead of taking in important lessons and enjoying bonding time that every child needs. Kids are perceptive, and these actions may suggest that whatever is on their parents’ phones are more important than they are.
Beyond the personal impact of letting your smartphone take over your life, driving distracted by your is considered negligence and can get you sued if you cause an accident. We have seen many accidents caused by drivers who were too busy using their smartphones to keep their eyes on the road. Unfortunately for these individuals, courts allow access to cell phone records to help prove that the at-fault driver was using their phone. These accidents are so common, in fact, that when there is a rear-end collision and there is no evidence that the driver hit the brakes, many know to start the investigation at the smartphone.
Using a smartphone and causing an accident can also be grounds for criminal charges or punitive damages in a case. The bottom line is, we all need to be more responsible when we use our phones. There is no text, email or Facebook post worth causing the pain, suffering and hassle that comes with an accident. If you feel you must answer that call or text, pull over to a safe area and stop before you become another statistic. Be responsible never text and drive!
If you, a loved one, or a friend is involved in an accident where you believe the other driver was distracted by their smartphone, call Wieland, Hilado & DeLattre at 407-841-7699 for a free consultation. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices in law.