Texting behind the wheel has become a nationwide problem and affects thousands of families each year. Too many people forget that when they’re on the road, even the slightest distraction can cause an accident which results in serious injuries or even death. According to the New York Times, you’re 23 times more likely to be in a car accident if you’re texting.
A call or text can wait until you’ve reached your destination. No one should be forced to suffer from serious injuries or the loss of a loved one because another driver couldn’t wait to look at their phone. When drivers disregard these basic safety rules and cause accidents, it’s important to hold them liable for the damages they’ve caused.
The Law On Texting While Driving In Queens, NYC
In the state of New York, operating a cell phone while driving is considered a primary offense unless you’re using it to call 911 or to report an emergency. This means that a police officer can pull you over simply because he observes you using a cell phone. Texting drivers face a penalty of up to a $150 fine plus mandatory surcharges and fees up to $85. This violation also adds three points to a driver’s license.
While it’s good that there are legal penalties for this dangerous habit, many would argue that they don’t go far enough. When a texting driver causes an accident and someone gets seriously injured, the injury expenses will far exceed a $150 fine. In these scenarios, it’s important for the victim to be aware of their rights and to fight for the compensation they need during their recovery.
Is Texting While Driving As Bad As Drunk Driving?
Texting behind the wheel is arguably even more dangerous than driving while drunk. According to a study by the Transport Research Laboratory in London, texting drivers have reaction times that are 35% lower than nondistracted drivers. It takes an average of about 5 seconds to send a text. If you’re traveling at 55 MPH, that means your eyes are off the road for the length of an entire football field. This allows ample time to get into an accident.
Drunk drivers are looked down on by society, and rightfully so. But we must do more to punish people who text while driving as well. This behavior is just as dangerous and has just as much potential to destroy families through serious injuries and fatal accidents.
Can You Sue Someone For Texting During An Accident?
When you’re involved in a car accident, you have the option to sue the other driver if their negligence contributed to the accident. Negligence means any behavior which needlessly endangers others. All forms of distracted driving, including texting, qualify as negligence. In more simple terms, each member of society owes each other a duty to behave responsibly in order to keep our environments as safe as possible. Failing to abide by this principle legally constitutes negligence, and those who disregard the safety of others through distracted driving can face financial consequences if they get hit with a personal injury lawsuit.
In the aftermath of an accident, it’s usually quite difficult to ascertain exactly how the accident happened. These incidents happen very quickly and it’s easy to become disoriented. This is why law enforcement officials and emergency responders work to piece together the story of an accident when they arrive on the scene. But even for them, it can be hard to tell if one of the drivers was texting during the accident.
That being said, an experienced Queens car accident attorney can help you determine which factors contributed to your accident. Police may have determined that cell phone use was involved while talking to the other driver. Witnesses to the accident could also testify that they saw the other driver on a cell phone. The New York State Senate also has a bill currently in committee which would allow police to check cell phone records after a car accident.
Each car accident is unique, and if you’re looking for financial compensation, it’s usually necessary to have your case evaluated by an experienced car accident lawyer. At Lipsig Queens, we’re prepared to analyze the details of your case and help you fight for the compensation you and your family need after being struck by a texting driver.