The number of states that are addressing the worrisome problem of drivers using their smartphones behind the wheel and engaging in other distracted driving behaviors has led to many considering legislation to stop the practice. Massachusetts is the latest seeking to ban handheld device use behind the wheel. Since this is such a problem, drivers who are in an auto accident should be aware of distracted driving as a potential reason for it and consider a legal filing to be compensated.
In the state senate bill, drivers in the state would be banned from using their handheld phone except in emergencies. Fines for doing so would begin at $100. According to studies, in 2015, there were 3,459 fatalities in crashes that occurred because of a distracted driver. That came to about 10 percent of all fatal crashes. Researchers believe the numbers might be worse. This law, if passed, would ban drivers from even touching the device while driving. An exception is to tap or swipe it or to place it in hands-free mode.
In addition, drivers will not be allowed to use the internet, send text messages, use social media, use the camera, make video calls or do anything else related to the device. If there is a voice command option for GPS purposes, this is allowable. It is believed that a ban on holding a device has resulted in a significant reduction of fatal accidents in nearby New Hampshire. The study indicated that in 88 percent of their trips, drivers use their phone.
The mere fact that there have been multiple attempts to pass some form of legislation banning handheld phone use is indicative of the scope of the problem. When there is a crash, people can be injured, need medical care, have long-term damage that hinders their ability to work and need help from others. If there is a fatality, the family left behind will need to learn how to move forward after the incident. Since distracted driving is so common, the accident investigation is even more important when considering a legal filing. Discussing the case with a legal professional experienced in helping clients after a car accident is the first step.
Source: metro.us, “Mass. could join neighbors in banning handheld devices while driving,” June 29, 2017