According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 660,000 citizens nationwide are distracted by cell phones or other electronic devices while driving at any moment. Distracted driving causes can lead to injuries and fatal accidents. In fact, nearly 2.5 million car crashes around the world are caused by distracted driving each year. And 9% of these motor vehicle accidents result in death annually, or about eight people each day in America. While there has been a small decrease in texting while driving from 2020 to 2021, a survey showed at least 16.2% of drivers text behind the wheel. Unfortunately, if you have suffered an injury or wrongful death due to a distracted driver, these cases can be difficult to prove without the assistance of a skilled attorney. Learn more about texting while driving cases and how the lawyers at Brian & Brian Pistotnik Law Offices can come to your aid.
How Attorneys Prove Texting While Driving Cases
Personal injury attorneys have ways to prove a driver was distracted and at fault for the cause of a collision resulting from a driver’s inadvertence to paying attention to the road. It is relatively easy to get cited for a texting while driving law. If a police officer thinks you are violating this law, they can pull you over and cite you for the violation. Texting while driving is a primary law, meaning police have the right to pull you over even if you are abiding by the other rules of the road. If authorities are not present to prove a driver was texting and driving, how else can a personal injury attorney validate your case?
Access Phone Records
Another way to prove that someone was texting while driving is to obtain records from the user’s phone company. Getting access to these records will allow one to see if that person was receiving, sending, or using the phone when an accident occurred. All it takes is a subpoena from the wireless phone provider to assess when text messages were read and sent and to see if there is an overlap with the time of the accident. Traffic cameras may also be able to capture the moment someone was distracted from looking at their cell phone and thus caused an accident.
Gather Eyewitness Testimonials
Yet another way to prove a driver caused a collision by texting and driving is to provide witnesses that knew the driver was not paying attention to the cars in front of them on the road. If a witness (whether in the car or not) saw the other driver texting or using their cell phone at the time of the accident, your attorney will use those statements as part of your case or as a way to obtain cell phone records for the other driver. While witnesses can be unreliable, a witness that did see the other driver texting is still a valuable piece of evidence in your case. The easiest way to prove someone was texting while driving is to have them admit they were texting while driving. Testimonies given to police officers who respond to the scene of an accident provide valuable information in proving a driver was distracted by looking at their phone.
Texting and Driving Laws
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), no state bans all cell phone use for all drivers. However, 36 states and Washington D.C. prohibit any cell phone use behind the wheel by novice drivers, and 18 states and D.C. ban cell phone use for school bus drivers. By having rules in place, law enforcement hopes to prevent accidents and fatalities from happening because of other people’s carelessness. In an attempt to discourage distracted driving, all of the 50 states have put into effect rules to deter this kind of behavior. Texting while driving is considered one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving that can be easily prevented. It is important to remember that even if states do not have laws directly related to distracted driving, the act leads to driving behavior that is illegal, such as reckless driving and other traffic violations.
Texting While Driving Law in Kansas
In Kansas, texting while driving is illegal for drivers of all ages and regardless of the type of license they hold. This is a primary law meaning that all drivers are prohibited from sending, receiving, or typing text messages while driving. The law also applies to text that converts into an email or instant messaging software. Texting and driving is considered a primary offense, so if a police officer sees or even thinks you are texting on your phone, they have the right to pull you over for the violation. Violating the law will result in a ticket from the responding police officer. However, Kansas texting prohibition laws do not apply in certain situations. The 2014 Statute KSA 8-15,111 states the following are exceptions to the law:
- A law enforcement officer or emergency service personnel acting within the course and scope of the law enforcement officer’s or emergency service personnel’s employment;
- a motor vehicle stopped off the regular traveled portion of the roadway;
- a person who reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in a wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a phone call;
- a person who receives an emergency, traffic or weather alert message; or
- a person receiving a message related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle.
Novice drivers are still not allowed to talk on a cell phone while driving. Motorists who are novice drivers are barred from using their wireless devices on the road for any purpose whatsoever. However, it is legal for all drivers, regardless of age, to report illegal activity or summon medical emergency services. Kansas texting while driving laws also allow for a multitude of exceptions. For example, the texting while driving ban does not apply when you have technology that operates the cellular device without the use of your hands.
Generally, a texting violation carries a $60 fine. However, court costs can increase the amount that a driver may have to pay. In other instances, when your distracted driving leads to a car collision, you will probably be found liable to pay for the other driver’s property damage, personal injuries stemming from the accident, and in worst-case scenarios vehicular homicide when a collision results in the death of another driver.
Texting While Driving Injury Cases
Distracted driving is defined in Kansas as “engaging in any activity while driving that shifts the attention from the primary task of operating the motor vehicle.” One of the most obvious forms of distracted driving is texting while driving. Texting while driving is accountable for a majority of the distracted driving accidents and collisions that occur all too frequently in Kansas.
Drivers who decide to text and drive not only put their lives in danger but also the lives of other drivers on the road. To combat foreseeable consequences, the state of Kansas has made it a violation of the law to text and drive. Furthermore, you can be ticketed for texting and driving even when no other traffic infraction has occurred. The law applies to all operators of vehicles in Kansas regardless of the skill of driving. For younger novice drivers, all usage of cellular devices behind the wheel is prohibited. With the rise of the newest forms of technology, more cases involving injuries sustained when someone has been texting and driving are appearing more frequently.
A local injury case shows the tragic consequences that stem when someone drives distracted created by the use of their cell phone. In Kansas in 2012, prosecutors charged a 16-year-old girl with texting while driving and causing a traffic crash that killed a 72-year-old woman. Prosecutors were able to obtain the 16-year-old’s cell phone records to establish that she had been texting and driving which caused her to be distracted and lose control of her vehicle. The results were catastrophic and resulted in the loss of another driver’s life. Prosecutors added a charge of second-degree involuntary manslaughter to the 16-year-olds infractions. At trial, the judge said the 16-year-old was criminally negligent for her failure to put total concentration to the task of driving at hand. The 16-year-old put the lives of others on the road at danger and was reckless, irresponsible, and criminal.
Finding a Lawyer for Your Texting While Driving Case
If you have been injured by a driver who was texting while driving, an accident lawyer at Brian & Brian at Pistotnik Law may be able to help. Our attorneys can subpoena phone records to determine whether a driver was texting or talking at the time of the crash. Establishing that the other driver was driving negligently lets you pursue fair compensation in a legal claim or car insurance claim. By doing this, you can ensure that the other driver is held responsible for their reckless behavior.
Brian & Brian at Pistotnik Law attorneys are very skilled in this area of work and will fight to get you what you deserve. Our attorneys will evaluate all the evidence to protect your legal rights. Our firm believes that those injured in a car accident in which they were not at fault should be compensated to the full extent possible. We work hard to determine all of your losses that can be attributed to the car wreck, and we will not advise accepting a settlement that does not adequately compensate for such losses. Our attorneys will take a car accident case to trial if settlement negotiations are not fair. Contact us today by calling 316-689-8035 or send us a message to learn more.