According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 1,000 people are injured each day in the United States in accidents involving distracted drivers. Drivers who text and drive are six times more likely to cause a car accident. In an effort to crack down on this serious issue in Rhode Island, police gave out a record number of tickets for texting and driving in 2017. As discussed in a previous Tapalian Law blog on distracted driving, effective June 1, 2018, Rhode Island law will prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones by motorists while driving to further strengthen the prevention of auto accidents caused by distracted driving. Although Rhode Island already has a “no texting” law in effect, many say that police have not truly enforced the law and that it can be difficult to prove a motorist was texting while driving. As Providence personal injury lawyers, we know that it can be difficult for a person injured in a car accident to prove that the crash was caused by a driver who was texting unless there are witnesses, or camera footage involved. However, police are beginning to take an increased interest and statistics shown by the Rhode Island Judiciary show that enforcement of the law has been gradual, and the amount of tickets has increased over the past four years for distracted driving. This is positive news for those who have been hurt at the hands of a distracted driver.
Tickets Have Increased in Quantity Each Year
Rhode Island police issued the highest number of distracted driving tickets thus far in 2017, with a total of 1,167. There were 216 distracted driving tickets issued in 2014, 503 in 2015, 923 in 2016, and the highest number in 2017 of 1,167. When the new cell phone use law goes into effect in June, first-time offenders will face a $100 fine which can be suspended with proof of purchase of a hands-free device. If you have been injured in an auto accident by a distracted driver, seek the assistance of an experienced Rhode Island personal injury attorney like David Tapalian. A Providence injury lawyer well practiced in car accident claims and injuries, Attorney Tapalian can counsel you throughout the process of seeking compensation for your injuries and assist you in proving fault of the other driver in your RI or MA accident. In the case of a distracted driving accident, it is much easier for you to prove fault and seek restitution for the harms caused by the other motorist if they have been issued a police citation for distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Laws in Rhode Island
The distracted driving laws that went into effect in Rhode Island in 2011 make it illegal to send, read, or compose text messages while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 are considered “novice drivers” in Rhode Island and are banned from all cell phone use. Even if the novice driver has not committed another traffic violation, police may pull the driver over and issue a ticket for cell phone use. Bus drivers also are prohibited from all cell phone use. First time offenders may face a $85 fine, $100 fine for second offenders, and $125 for third and subsequent offenses.
When this new law goes into effect in June, Rhode Island will join the ranks of states outlawing the use of hand held devices while driving including nearby Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. As personal injury attorneys, Tapalian Law hopes the combination of existing and new distracted driving laws will see a measured decrease in the amount of serious injuries and tragic deaths caused by cell phone use by driving in Rhode Island. Astoundingly, most drivers agree that distracted driving is the biggest cause of auto accidents and should be illegal, according to an online study by Progressive Insurance, but many drivers continue to do so.
Contact an Experienced Distracted Driving Injury Attorney in Rhode Island
If you have been hurt in a crash by a driver found to be using a cell phone by texting, talking, using a GPS, or other type of negligent or distracted behavior, seek out the advice of a distracted driving car accident attorney at Tapalian Law. Harm caused by severe car accidents can be dangerous including head trauma, brain injury, loss of limb, chronic back and neck pain, wounds, abrasions, and a multitude of other medical problems. Whether your injuries inflicted in your auto accident are major or minor, you may be able to file a claim against the other driver with the assistance of a Providence personal injury lawyer. For a free consultation, contact the personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law today. Attorney David Tapalian has over 15 years of experience helping his clients successfully seek monetary damages for the harm they experienced in all types of accidents including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, slip and falls, and dog bite injuries. Call us today at 401-552-5000 or contact us online to see how we can help you.