Distracted driving has become a national epidemic in the modern age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) estimates that distracted driving contributes to more than 2,800 traffic fatalities and over 400,000 injuries every year. However, if you are in an accident, it may be hard to prove the other driver was distracted.
Distracted driving includes many dangerous driving behaviors, including talking on the phone, texting, eating behind the wheel, applying makeup, reaching for something in the back seat, and many others.
While distracted driving laws vary from one state to another, it is crucial to understand what is and isn’t prohibited in your particular state when driving a motor vehicle. Additionally, suppose you have been in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. In that case, it is critical to contact an attorney to help you prove that the other motorist was not paying sufficient attention to the road at the time of the crash.
Our distracted driving attorneys at Howe.Law can help you gather all necessary evidence to prove that the other driver was distracted in your car accident. So, talk to one of our lawyers by calling 844-876-4357 to discuss your particular case.
What is Distracted Driving?
When a driver engages in any activity that makes them take their eyes off the road while operating a motor vehicle, they are a distracted driver. For example, distracted driving behaviors include:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Applying makeup
- Reaching for something in the back seat
- Adjusting the radio
- Using the navigation system
As you can see, any activity that diverts your attention from driving can be considered distracted driving. For this reason, if you suspect that the other motorist was distracted when your crash occurred, it is highly recommended to contact an attorney to help you prove distracted driving in your car accident.
What Are the Distracted Driving Laws in Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi?
What is and isn’t prohibited by state law depends on your state. Read on to find out more about distracted driving laws in Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Distracted Driving Laws in Georgia
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241, it is illegal for motorists to “physically hold or support” with their hand or any other part of their body any wireless telecommunication, including a cellphone or stand-alone electronic device while driving.
While Georgia law prohibits handheld cellphone use while driving, it has the following exceptions:
- First responders, including law enforcement officers, ambulance drivers, and others, are exempt from the state’s handheld phone prohibitions.
- Utility service provider employees or contractors may use their handheld phones while operating a motor vehicle in the scope of employment when responding to an emergency.
- All other motorists can use a handheld phone while reporting a traffic accident, emergency, or criminal activity.
Distracted Driving Laws in Tennessee
T.C.A. § 55-8-199 makes it unlawful for motorists to:
- hold a cellphone or any handheld personal digital assistant with any part of their body;
- write, read, or send text messages, emails, or any other text-based communications;
- reach for a cellphone or any other device in a way that requires the driver to remove a seat belt or get out of their seated driving position;
- watch movies or videos on a cellphone or other mobile device; and
- record videos on a cellphone or any other mobile device while driving.
Exceptions to Tennessee’s handheld cellphone prohibition include:
- Using G.P.S. systems is not illegal, and so is single-swiping a cellphone.
- Motorists 18 and older may send and receive text messages by using hands-free technology.
- Prohibitions do not apply to first responders operating a motor vehicle in the scope of their employment.
- Drivers may use a handheld cellphone to report a car accident or otherwise communicate with emergency personnel during an emergency.
Distracted Driving Laws in Mississippi
Under Miss. Code § 63-33-1, it is illegal for operators of motor vehicles to:
- Write, read, or send text messages unless the driver is using a voice-operated or hands-free device; and
- Browse social media networks or read/write posts on social media sites while driving.
Exceptions to Mississippi’s distracted driving laws include:
- All motorists may use voice-operated or hands-free devices; and
- Text messages do not include traffic or weather alerts, an emergency, or notifications related to the navigation or operation of the vehicle.
How to Prove Distracted Driving in a Car Accident?
You may need to gather several pieces of evidence to prove that the distraction of the other driver in a car accident.
1. Gather evidence at the scene of the crash
Photos and videos are invaluable pieces of evidence in any car accident, especially if the crash involves a distracted driver. Take as many photos as possible after a car accident and focus on skid marks (or lack thereof), vehicle damage, traffic signals nearby, and others.
A photo showing that the other driver’s vehicle left no tire marks from braking may indicate the distraction of the other driver. Consequently, the evidence of no tire shows the failure to use the breaks before the collision occurred because of their distraction.
2. Gain access to the other driver’s cellphone records
Texting while driving is the most prevalent form of distracted driving. Using a handheld cellphone to write, read, or send text messages while operating a motor vehicle is dangerous because this activity involves three forms of distraction: manual, visual, and cognitive.
Suppose you suspect or know for a fact (because the driver was holding the cellphone before the collision) that the other driver was distracted. In that case, you need a lawyer to help you gain access to the distracted driver’s cellphone records.
Your lawyer will subpoena the distracted driver’s cellphone carrier to access records showing the use of the device shortly before the accident.
3. Obtain access to vehicle data
Many new motor vehicles have technology that records a driver’s activity while driving. For example, vehicle data may show how fast the driver was going before the crash, whether or not hands-free technology was used, and many more.
In some distracted driving accident cases, you can obtain vehicle data to complement cellphone records to build a solid claim against the other driver. You may need a lawyer to help you gain access to the distracted driver’s vehicle data to look for evidence of a distraction.
4. Talk to witnesses and gather their statements
Witness statements are one of the most critical pieces of evidence when proving distracted driving. For example, if a witness saw that the other driver was texting in the minutes leading up to the crash, you have a good chance of proving the distraction of the driver.
An experienced attorney can help you collect witness statements to strengthen your case.
5. Get a copy of the police report
If you were in a reportable car accident, you should report your crash to a local police department. After the police arrive and investigate the scene of your crash, they will write a police report, which may indicate the distraction of the other driver at the time of the accident. You should get a copy of the police report.
6. Hire accident reconstruction experts
Suppose you cannot prove that the other driver was distracted through the different types of evidence described above. In that case, it may be necessary to retain accident reconstruction experts to determine what caused your car accident. Accident reconstruction specialists will examine the vehicles’ speed and reaction time. This reconstruction looks for any evidence that suggests that the distraction of the other driver.
7. Contact a car accident attorney
It is advisable to seek the legal counsel of a skilled attorney to help you prove a distracted driving accident. Your lawyer will look for any evidence indicating a driver distraction. At Howe.Law, our attorneys, commit to helping you gather all necessary pieces of evidence to prove distracted driving.
Speak with a Distracted Driving Attorney at Howe.Law
Using a knowledgeable and results-driven attorney can make a massive difference in the outcome of your case. This is especially true if your car crash involved distracted driving.
You need a skilled lawyer to help you prove the distraction of the other driver in a car accident.
Proving a driver distraction can be difficult, which is why you need a skilled lawyer to help you:
- Collect evidence to prove distracted driving
- Subpoena the other driver’s cellphone records
- Obtain the other driver’s vehicle data
- Find and interview witnesses
- Collect witness statements
- Retain accident reconstruction experts to strengthen your case
- Determine if other factors might have contributed to your accident
- Negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you receive fair and total compensation for your damages.
Our attorneys will review your situation to help you understand how to best proceed with your case to seek maximum compensation from the distracted driver. It is vital to seek immediate medical attention following a car accident to receive full compensation.
The distracted driving attorneys at Howe.Law will represent your best interests and rights and help you navigate the claims process. So, schedule a free case evaluation by calling 844-876-4357 today.