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What You Need to Know About Cell Phone Related Auto Accidents

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What You Need to Know About Cell Phone Related Auto Accidents

I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento. Cell phones are now inseparable from our daily life. However, the dangers of calling or texting from a mobile phone while driving have emerged as a new reality one must face.

Although laws related to the use of mobile phone while driving have been put in place to address the risks, but in reality, mobile phone use while driving continues to be a very significant and direct cause of many auto accidents.

If you get involved in a mobile phone related car crash because of a distracted driver, you should know about the next steps you should be taking.

Your First Steps Following a Cell Phone Related Auto Accident

In case you find yourself involved in auto accident because of a distracted driver who was using a mobile phone, you must:

  • Seek medical care as soon as possible, if you have been injured.
  • Make a note of the precise time when the accident occurred (This information may later prove to be vital if the mobile phone records of the other driver are examined as a part of evidence).
  • Obtain information about the other driver’s contact details, driver license, and insurance.
  • Take photographs of the scene of accident, the automobiles involved, as well as any injury you might have sustained.
  • File the police report, and ensure that you include information that the other driver was using a mobile phone while driving.

Maintain caution about confronting or engaging in an argument or discussion with the other driver in the moments following the car crash. This could have an impact on any legal recourse you may intend to pursue against them later on.

Proving the Use of Mobile Phone

If you believe or suspect that the use of mobile phone caused the auto accident, it becomes important to collect evidence that can prove that the other driver had been using a mobile phone when the accident took place. Keep the following steps in mind while gathering evidence:

  • Obtain statements from witnesses, if possible or if any, in case there are others who could possibly have noticed the other driver using their mobile phone.
  • Make a plan in consultation with an attorney or on your own to file a subpoena in small claims court to obtain the mobile phone records of the distracted driver.
  • Retain all your medical bills and records related to the accident in order to prove your injuries that resulted due to distracted driving.
  • Make personal notes about the accident when you return home before these vital memories fade away.
  • Store all this information in a virtual and actual file (you should do this after any type of car accident as well).

California’s New Law

January 1st, 2017, California began a new law related to the use of mobile phone while driving. The new law bars a driver from even holding a mobile device in their hand while operating their vehicle. With this law, California has gone a step further than most other states with regard to prohibition of mobile phone use while driving.

The law strengthens the previous legislation that prohibited drivers in California from talking or texting on a cell phone while driving, but did not stop them from activities such as video streaming, or using social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook. This law even goes further than the recommendations of the federal agency to prevent distracted driving.

However, the new law allows drivers to operate a mobile phone while driving if the function involves only the motion of finger tap or a single swipe, and only if the mobile device has been mounted on a holder on the car’s dashboard or windshield. If the driver follows these conditions, they are still permitted to make use of their cell phone to make a call, provided it is being done using the hands-free mode.

But you still have to keep your eyes on the road! Save a life, don’t text and drive.

Rationale behind the New Law

The law is aimed at preventing drivers from holding their mobile phones for a range of uses that have become common, including typing an address into the mapping system of the mobile phone, taking selfies (which is ridiculous but this is another topic) or making videos, scrolling through online music playlists, or reading and posting social media messages.

According to a recent study conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety, one out of eight automobile drivers on the road pays as much attention to their mobile device as to the road.

Distracted driving has now become a key factor in a large number of automobile crashes. The goal to reduce distracted driving has become much more challenging with the ubiquitous use of mobile devices and apps, which has necessitated more stringent laws in The Golden State.

YouTube Video: Distracted Driving is Like Driving Blind

Related Content from Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer, Ed Smith

Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Suffering an injury or the loss of a loved one in a preventable accident is a travesty. If you have been negatively impacted by the reckless actions of another driver, I can help. Please do not hesitate to call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. Alternatively, I am also available online at AutoAccident.com.

I have been practicing law in Sacramento since 1982, serving the legal needs of those injured in accidents and their families. Browse through some of my former clients’ reviews posted to: YelpGoogle, and Avvo.

I have the privilege of membership to the Million Dollar Forum, a group reserved for trial attorneys with million-dollar winnings and settlements. Find summaries of my past cases on my Verdicts and Settlements page.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Texting while Driving by Intel Free Press . CC BY-SA 2.0
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