Distracted driving is a dangerous activity that has a widespread impact on all ages of our nation. As we grow more and more dependent on our smartphones and other smart devices to navigate the world around us, the vast number of distractions continues to multiply. Unfortunately, many drivers have the misfortune of being involved in a car accident that is the result of a distracted driver. These accidents can lead to severe injury and in some cases, even the loss of like. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers in Houston, we want you to have all the information you need to understand the dangers of distracted driving before you get out on the road.
Listed below are some statistics taken from the End Distracted Driving Organization’s website:
- 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015 (data not yet available for 2017) NHTSA
- 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. NHTSA.
- Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the NSC estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27% of 2015 car crashes. NSC
- In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA
- The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS)
- Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Three types of distractions:
Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: Manual, Visual, and Cognitive.
- Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.
- Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road.
- A cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders away from the task of driving.
Texting involves all three types of distraction.
Cell Phone Use:
- People are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%. University of Utah
- Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers. University of Utah
- Text messaging increases the risk of crash or near-crash by 23 times. Virginia Technical Transportation Institute, USDOT
- Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph NHTSA
Drivers are not taking this seriously enough:
- Over 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send email while driving. Nevertheless, 36% of these same people admit to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
If you have been involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, you may wonder how you will be able to prove this. The most common problem we see is accidents involving a driver that was texting, so how can you prove that the other driver was texting? Working with an experienced car accident attorney such as Beverly R. Caruthers will make navigating this difficult situation much easier for you. This is because an experienced car accident attorney has the knowledge needed to help you gather evidence to prove your case. More often than not, you can assume the other driver will not be willing to freely admit that they were texting while driving. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case you may have the legal right to request certain information from the other driver that will make it easier to prove he or she was in fact texting while driving.
Request the At-Fault Driver’s Phone Records
If you are left with the burden of proof to show the other driver was texting while driving, which lead to your car accident, your attorney can help you get what is known as a subpoena. This can be a difficult task to accomplish on your own, but working with an experienced car accident attorney who understands the ins and outs of the legal system can help to simplify this process and successfully obtain a subpoena.
What is a subpoena?
According to FindLaw.com:
A subpoena (pronounced “suh-pee-nuh”) is a request for the production of documents, or a request to appear in court or other legal proceeding. It is a court-ordered command that essentially requires you to do something, such as testify or present information that may help support the facts that are at issue in a pending case. The term “subpoena” literally means “under penalty”. A person who receives a subpoena but does not comply with its terms may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, such as fines, jail time, or both.
There are two types of subpoenas. The first, called subpoena ad testificandum (pronounced “ad test- te-fi-kan-dum”), requires you to testify before a court, or other legal authority. The second, called subpoena duces tecum (pronounced “doo-seez tee-kum”), requires you to produce documents, materials, or other tangible evidence. A subpoena may be requested in any kind of matter, but the most common requests are from divorce, child custody, personal injury, and sex offender cases.
What Are Subpoenas Used For?
Under state and federal civil or criminal procedural laws, subpoenas offer attorneys a chance to obtain information to help prove or disprove their client’s case. Criminal attorneys, for example, often use subpoenas to obtain “witness” or lay opinion testimony from a third party that may lead to someone’s guilt or innocence at trial. Similarly, civil attorneys often subpoena individuals to obtain information that may help settle someone’s claim. For example, an attorney representing a spouse in a child custody hearing might issue a subpoena to the other spouse to appear in court to determine joint custody arrangements.
Who May Issue a Subpoena?
In most instances, a subpoena can be issued and signed by an attorney on behalf of a court in which the attorney is authorized to practice law. If the subpoena is for a high-level government official (such as the Governor, or agency head), then it must be signed by an administrative law judge. In some cases, a non-lawyer may issue a subpoena if acting on his or her own behalf (known as pro se representation).
In order to obtain a subpoena for the negligent driver’s phone records, the first step will be to file a claim. When you have a personal injury claim because of the accident, working with an experienced attorney by your side will make the process much smoother. Legal proceedings can be difficult to manage on your own, especially in situations that require additional information and evidence. It is best to have a personal injury attorney that is also an experienced car accident attorney, such as Attorney Caruthers, who has been serving the communities of the Greater Houston area for over 30 years.
During discovery, your car accident attorney can research your claims and file a formal request for the negligent driver’s phone records. This will be requested through their insurance company. Although insurance companies may choose to voluntarily submit the records to your car accident attorney, it is more likely your attorney will have to get them by filing a subpoena. Once the records are obtained, your attorney will examine them to see if any texts or calls were made just prior to the time of your accident.
Is it illegal to text and drive in Texas?
Texting while driving is illegal everywhere in Texas, and some cities ban all cell phone use while driving. But using your cellphone while driving is always dangerous because it’s distracted driving.
Cell phone laws to remember:
-You cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving in Texas.
-Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using cellphones in the first six months of driving.
-Using any handheld device in your vehicle in a school zone is illegal.
-Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices.
-School bus drivers may not use cellphones at all while driving if children are present.
-Cellphone laws can change from city to city.
While many people think texting and driving isn’t as dangerous as driving under the influence, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that texting and driving may be more hazardous than driving under the influence (with a BAC level of .08 percent).
How are Negligent Drivers Liable if They Were Texting and Driving?
In Texas, when an individual is purposefully acting in a manner that demonstrates negligence, such as texting and driving, they are liable.
When personal injuries that occurred due to texting and driving can be proven, the negligent driver is responsible for compensating the victim for damages. Damages may include:
-Pain and suffering;
Following a car accident with a negligent driver, call the police immediately. When the police officer arrives at the scene, inform them that you believe the other individual was texting at the time of your accident. If the police officer is able to confirm this, they can write a citation, which can be used in court as evidence against the other driver.
Additionally, you will need to seek medical care following the accident. Even if you don’t feel injured, it could take several days for symptoms of an injury to present themselves. In addition, be sure to keep all medical records to give to your car accident attorney in Houston.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help to protect your rights and protect you throughout the process by ensuring you are not blamed for the accident and that you receive the compensation you deserve. If our team is unable to negotiate reasonable compensation, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit seeking additional compensation in your case. Learn more about how we can help you get the justice you deserve when you fill out this form.
Abogado de accidentes automovilísticos de habla hispana
Too often Spanish-speaking individuals feel they will not be able to find justice in their car accident cases, causing them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you. We make it simple for those who have been injured in car accidents to navigate the legal system in order to get the results they need to continue on in their lives. Schedule your no-obligation car accident consultation with Attorney Caruthers today. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your needs are being met and that you are getting the treatment you deserve in your car accident case. Don’t hesitate, the sooner you call the more we can do to get you results.
Best Car Accident Attorney in Houston TX
If you have been injured, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work because of a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you! Our team works hard to bring the most efficient and practical solutions to your car accident case. Beverly R. Caruthers proudly serves and defends the Greater Houston area including but not limited to Baytown, Conroe, Crosby, Humble, Huntsville, Lake Jackson, Missouri City, Pasadena, Spring, Tomball. Our legal team is bilingual and offers Spanish speaking legal counsel for all of our clients. If you need legal representation following an incident don’t hesitate to contact Beverly R. Caruthers Law Office!