Effective June 1, 2018, Rhode Island law will prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in a move to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving. The new law will further the distracted driving laws Rhode Island put into effect in 2011 making it illegal to send, read, or compose text messages while driving. Since the “no texting” ban went into effect, police officers across Rhode Island have issued hundreds of tickets for violations, with few issued for repeat offenders. As a personal injury law firm, Tapalian Law hopes the existing ban on texting and the cell phone ban coming forth in 2018, will contribute to a decrease in severe injuries and tragic deaths due to car accidents caused by distracted driving. Interestingly, the majority of 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 still knowingly do it.
Key Findings from Progressive Distracted Driving Study
Not surprisingly, teenagers make up the largest group of drivers reported as distracted at the time of a fatal crash. In fact, the American Automobile Association (AAA) released a report earlier this year that states millennials exhibit the riskiest driving behavior of all age groups. The Progressive study reports 62% of 18-34 years old’s are very, or somewhat, confident in their ability to text while driving, even though 64% agree that using a phone to text while driving is a main cause of car accidents. Only 6% of those ages 55 and older feel comfortable in their ability to safely text and drive. More men than woman feel “very confident” in their ability to text while driving, even though the majority of men and woman agree it should not be allowed.
Deaths & Injuries Caused by Distracted Driving
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 injured in auto accidents involving distracted drivers, reports the National Highway Safety Administration. So why would a vehicle operator knowingly text while driving, even though it is illegal? Most people recognize the danger and harm in using a cell phone when driving, yet they still do so. Why? According to the Progressive study, drivers feel confident in their own ability to text and drive- they have a false sense of confidence. This is unsettling, as anyone who has ever been hurt in a serious car accident knows. As injury lawyers, we find it disturbing as we so often see the destruction car accident injuries can have on a person and their families, both physically and mentally. As we know, it only takes a second to look down at a cell phone to read or send a text and find yourself on the opposite side of the road. This is not only dangerous to the driver and any passengers in the vehicle but if another vehicle or pedestrian is close by, it could result in a perilous head-on collision, rear-end collision, or a pedestrian accident. A vehicle operator attempting to text while driving down a busy highway is extremely risky and can cause a multi-vehicle accident resulting in personal injury or a fatality.
Penalties for Violating “No Texting” Ban in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, first violations of the ban on texting while driving may result in a $100 fine, or a license suspension for up to 30 days, or both. A second conviction may be subject to a fine of $150, or a license suspension for up to 3 months, or both. For third, or subsequent, convictions, the offender may be subject to a fine of $250, or a license suspension for up to 6 months, or both. This does not take into account charges that may be filed against the vehicle operator if his or her negligence resulted in an auto accident. Doing so may result in a personal injury claim on the behalf of the injured. If a death occurred due to negligence, the offender may be subject to a wrongful death action by certain eligible family members of the deceased.
Have You Been Hurt by a Distracted Driver?
If you have been harmed by a driver found to be texting, talking on a phone, using a GPS, or other type of negligent behavior, seek out the advice of a distracted driving car accident attorney at Tapalian Law. Accidents can have grave consequences and as a victim you may suffer from head trauma, brain injury, loss of limb, chronic back and neck pain, wounds, abrasions, and a multitude of other medical problems. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, whether your injuries are major or minor, you may be able to file a claim against the other driver. For a free consultation, contact the injury attorneys at Tapalian Law today. Attorney David Tapalian has over 15 years of experience helping his clients successfully win monetary damages for the harm they experienced and get back on the road to recovery. The sooner you contact us, the better we can help you. Call us today at 401-552-5000 or contact us online.