Tag: cell phone

Driving While Distracted – Growing Cause of Car Accidents In Connecticut And The Nation

Across the nation, distracted driving is a growing threat to traffic safety. In 2008, 5,870 people died and another 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which driver distraction was listed as a cause, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The proportion of fatal accidents associated with distracted driving increased from 11 percent in 2004 to 16 percent in 2008, according to federal statistics.

The dangers of driving and talking on a cell phone or sending text messages have received attention with some states acting to ban certain activities while driving.  It is unlawful in the State of Connecticut to use a hand held cell phone while driving a motor vehicle.  Other secondary tasks such as eating, drinking and talking with passengers also can cause distractions.

A 2007 national survey found that 81 percent of people ages 16 and older have a wireless phone in the vehicle while they are driving. The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers is the under-20 age group. Sixteen percent of drivers under 20 in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving.   Text messaging appears to be a growing problem with more and more people texting while driving.  Connecticut has banned texting while driving.  However, just like Connecticut drivers continue to use their cell phones while driving so do people continue to text and drive.

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Circumstantial Evidence That Driver Was On Cell Phone At Time of Collision Was Sufficient to Prove Negligence

The Indiana Appellate court recently held that circumstantial evidence suggesting that a driver was on his cell phone at the time of the motor vehicle collision was enough to establish an inference of negligence.  In the case, the injured plaintiff was stopped at a red light when she was rear ended by the defendant.  When the defendant got out of his vehicle he had a cell phone in his hand and claimed that it was not working.  However, later on while the defendant was still at the accident scene he was observed using the cell phone.  The jury found in the injured plaintiff’s favor.  Defendant appealed arguing that there was insufficient evidence to establish negligence.  The appellate court disagreed.  The court found the following.  One, there was no bad weather, road defects or other excuse for the collision.  Two, defendant’s claim that his cell phone was not working when it actually was working provides a reasonable inference that the defendant tried to conceal the fact that he was using the phone at the time of the accident.  Three, defendant offered no explanation as to why he stated that his cell phone was not working.

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