Texting While Driving
Technology and cell phone use can be addicting and undeniably distracting. Regular text messaging, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media have become our connection to the world. Cell phones have become a large and important part of our everyday lives and sometimes it is difficult to put them down, even when driving. While it may be difficult, cell phone use is unsafe and unacceptable while driving. Even the quick glance at a cell phone or text message while driving draws a driver's attention away from the road, road conditions, and traffic. It is enough of a distraction to often cause an accident, hurt and harm to others. Drivers who text while driving are unable to respond to or anticipate the quickly changing conditions of the road and other cars. Crashes caused by someone texting while driving can be devastating and cause severe injury, or even death. When drivers make the decision to remove their attention from the road and text or message instead, they make a decision to not only be careless but also reckless. This behavior should not be tolerated, but it unfortunately happens all too often. Nearly one in five1 crashes resulting in injury or death involve a distracted driver. If you or someone you love has been injured in Albuquerque, or anywhere in New Mexico, by a driver who was texting rather than maintaining proper lookout on the road, the Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C., can help.We sue texting drivers, just like we sue drunk drivers, because texting while driving is reckless, willful, wanton conduct that endangers the lives and safety of others.
Drivers who have caused a crash as a result of texting or messaging while driving may be found at fault as a result of their negligence, or negligence per se. A driver is negligent when he or she owed an injured plaintiff a duty, breached that duty, and was the proximate cause of actual harm or damage caused to that plaintiff. New Mexico drivers owe a general duty of care to others to act reasonably under the circumstances. When you drive a car or truck, you reasonably should give your full time and attention to your driving, the road, and traffic. Drivers who fail to act reasonably, for example when they choose to pay attention to their cell phone and not the road, have breached the duty of care required of drivers and are likely negligent. In addition, drivers may be found negligent as a matter of law, or negligent per se, if they are in violation of a law or ordinance. New Mexico has a statewide ban on texting while driving, making reading, viewing, or manually typing on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle illegal. It's a law designed around common sense safety. In addition, the City of Albuquerque passed an ordinance similar to the New Mexico statute banning texting while operating a motor vehicle. When drivers choose to read or respond to a text message they choose to break the law and put you at risk to pay for that choice. I am focused on helping people pursue their claims against and, when necessary, sue drivers who text and drive and make them pay for their choice.The Dangers of Texting While Driving - It's not just negligent, it's willful and wanton conduct.
We see it all of the time – billboards, public service announcements, and even bumper stickers reminding us of the dangers that texting while driving can lead to. Often, texting while driving leads to crashes. In fact, drivers are 23 times more likely2 to crash while texting and driving. When these crashes do occur, injury or even death often results. Texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, making it extremely distracting and prevents drivers from maintaining proper lookout, as required by them. Not only does it distract from drivers’ attention, it substantially reduces their reaction time. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, checking a text while driving takes approximately 5 seconds, on average. This means texting drivers are essentially driving blindfolded over the length of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour with you and your family on the road around them.
Insurance companies are well aware of the dangers caused by distracted, texting drivers on our roadways. Many major insurance companies promote and encourage drivers to refrain from texting while driving. In fact, USAA has sponsored the It Can Wait program, which encourages their insured and other drivers to pledge to put their phones away and wait to text until they are no longer on the road. Even so, many people insured by these companies continue to text and drive and harm people on the road.
Not only does it increase your likelihood to get into a crash, a study conducted at the University of Utah revealed that those who use their cell phone may be as greatly impaired as those who drive while intoxicated. Additionally, these drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than intoxicated drivers. We know that the dangers of texting and driving are. That's why making the conscious decision to text or use a cell phone and drive is more than negligence - it is reckless, willful, wanton conduct.Holding Reckless Texting Drivers Responsible Through the Civil Justice System
People who text and drive put the lives of others at risk, and create danger on the roads. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, and an additional 421,000 were injured3. In spite of these statistics, the National Highway and Traffic Administration estimates that during any given moment, there are approximately 660,0004 drivers using their cell phone or an electronic device while driving in America. The problem is widespread, but it unfortunately continues.
The Law Office of Matthew Vance is dedicated to holding people who take unreasonable risks, like texting while driving, and injure everyday people responsible for their actions. I am an aggressive advocate for my clients and work hard to get them the compensation they deserve for their injuries, or even loss of life. Whether pursuing a claim for personal injury or wrongful death, I do all I can to help the victims of the reckless behavior of texting drivers. Typically, compensation includes monetary damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent injuries, and property damage.
In addition, those harmed by the reckless actions of texting drivers may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are monetary damages awarded to injured plaintiffs with the goal of punishing the wrongdoer and prevent him or her, along with others, from engaging in the same behavior in the future. Texting while driving is willful, wanton, and reckless conduct, and is against the law, and those who have harmed others because of this behavior should be punished.
Punitive damages are often used to punish drunk drivers. Drunk drivers are punished when their level of intoxication impairs their ability to make decisions on the road and react to situations that may arise. Texting does the same. When drivers text, they are unable to react as quickly as a reasonable, non-distracted person driving down the road. These drivers choose to commit illegal acts and endanger people around them. Because texting while driving has similar effects on a driver’s abilities on the road as intoxication, punitive damages are likely available to people who have been injured by texting drivers. When people decide to make dangerous, reckless decisions that affect the lives of others they should be punished.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of another driver’s recklessness though texting, messaging, or using a cell phone while driving, then call Albuquerque lawyer Matthew Vance at (505) 242-6267 to discuss your personal injury matter or contact us by email. It is important to call and discuss your situation with Matt Vance right away. In cases involving texting while driving, preservation of evidence is critical - right down to letter, hashtag, emoticon, or emoji. The Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C., is located in Albuquerque at 201 3rd Street NW, Suite 1920, but we assist crash victims across the state of New Mexico, Santa Fe, Taos, Espanola, Gallup, Belen, Las Cruces, and Los Lunas. We accept and vigorously pursue cases against texters that break the law and cause serious injuries and death to their victims. We represent people on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no attorney fees unless we make a recovery.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Distracted Driving.”
- FCC Consumer Guide, “The Dangers of Texting While Driving.” November 2015.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Distracted Driving.”
- NHTSA, “Traffic Safety Facts.” 2013.