Over and over again, we’ve been warned about the dangers of using mobile devices while we’re behind the wheel. Yet, despite all the warnings, we can’t help wondering, are they really as dangerous as the media makes them out to be?
How Many Car Accidents are Caused by Cell Phone Use
Simply Insurance collected a large amount of data and came up with some horrible stats regarding the connection between using a mobile device and the likelihood of you getting into an accident. The data was collected from auto accident information that the Department of Transportation compiled of traffic accidents that occurred in 2018.
- 385 auto accident fatalities during 2018 were directly linked to texting while driving
- An estimated 1.6 million auto accidents are the result of someone simultaneously driving and using a mobile device
- Approximately 14% of the fatal auto crashes in the United States are linked to cell phone use while driving
- Cell phones are linked to 390,000 personal injuries sustained in accidents that occurred because a driver was distracted by their cell phone.
- Texting while driving increases the likelihood of getting into a car accident 24 times.
Insurance companies are feeling the pressure of drivers getting distracted by their mobile devices. Allegedly, the sheer number of accidents that have been caused by a driver paying more attention to their mobile device than on the road has prompted the insurance companies to raise premiums by 10,000%
What Happens if Your Caught Using a Mobile Device While Driving
Anyone caught using a mobile device while operating a vehicle faces some serious consequences.
The first time a mobile device is the root of your distracted driving, you will get a ticket plus any additional infractions and costs. Since this is a driving offense that has more serious consequences each time you’re caught, every other time you’re ticketed for using a mobile device while driving, the cost of the ticket increases, plus additional fees.
Getting a ticket for using a mobile device while driving hurts your monthly budget, but that’s nothing compared to what will happen if your distracted driving results in an accident where someone is injured or killed. At this stage, you should consider reaching out to an experienced personal injury attorney.
A driver whose distracted driving results in an accident that includes a serious personal injury or death will face Class 1 misdemeanor charges. If convicted, the consequences include:
- Up to a 6-month jail sentence
- A yearlong suspension of their driver’s license
- A fine that could be as large as $1000
Are There Any Exceptions
While the best way to make sure you remain focused on driving is to turn your mobile device completely off until you reach your destination, some states don’t actually have any laws requiring you to do that. The truth is that if you simply can’t bear to be out of touch while you’re behind the wheel, there are a few ways you can continue to communicate during your commute.
The safest choice when you want to use a mobile device while you’re traveling is to pull over and park your car until you’re done calling or texting. Make sure you have your hazard lights on, pull all the way out of traffic, and use your blinkers to signal that you’re ready to rejoin the traffic flow once you’ve completed your call/text.
These days most cars have interfaces built right into them that allow the driver to use Bluetooth to stay in touch while they’re driving. You’re also legally allowed to use an earpiece, headphones, or watch. Just remember that you are still expected to pay attention so if the conversation is too distracting, end the call until your car is parked.
You’re allowed to use your phone’s hands-free option, which allows you to listen to calls and use the phone’s navigation features.
Drivers are allowed to use their mobile devices when they need to call for help in an emergency or if they’ve witnessed a crime.
Enlist the Aid of a Good Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, it’s likely you need a reliable personal injury lawyer who will stand in your corner. When you contact Miley Legal, they’ll handle all the details of your claim so you can focus on making a complete recovery.