Cell phones are perfect for emergencies and for staying in touch whenever and wherever we need to be in touch. But there is growing evidence that phones and driving don’t mix. With roads more crowded than ever and drivers seemingly more aggressive by the day, any distraction can lead to an accident, and cell phones definitely are a distraction.
A recent car accident caused by a driver distracted by a cell phone resulted in a $5.2 million settlement for the plaintiff. Debra was driving on an interstate highway when she was rear-ended by a sedan driven by an employee of International Paper Company. As a result of the collision, Debra had to have one of her arms amputated. Testimony showed that the driver who caused the crash was speeding and using her phone. In addition, the driver ignored her company’s cell-phone policy, which requires the use of hands-free headsets while driving.
And while I am on this topic, did you know that texting was 23 times more dangerous than driving alcohol and driving? Many states across the U.S. have passed laws making it a misdemeanor crime to text and drive. The Mississippi House of Representatives offered a bill this year making it a crime to text while driving and the penalties were harsh. The bill did not get signed into law but I bet you can expect to see the law again next year. Texting and driving is very dangerous. Think about this next time you want to text and you have your children or another person in the car. No one wants to be responsible for causing harm to another person.
A few common-sense safety rules can help us avoid accidents and save lives:
• If traffic is heavy, turn off your phone.
• Pull off the road before phoning.
• Use a hands-free type of phone.
• Save stressful, intense calls for home or office.
• If you must phone while driving, do so only when you can easily respond to traffic conditions.
The best advice about using your phone/texting and driving probably is the simplest: USE YOUR HEAD before you use your phone.
Chuck Mullins has been helping Mississippians for over 16 years. Learn more about Chuck at the Coxwell & Associates website.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.