Texting & Driving
In Rhode Island, about one-fourth of motor vehicle accidents occur due to texting while driving. As a car accident lawyer serving Rhode Island, Attorney David Tapalian commonly handles distracted driving cases including texting car accidents. When someone texts at the same time as driving, an accident is six times more likely to occur than if that person drove while intoxicated. Compared to drivers who do not text, those who either send or read messages get into crashes 23 times more often. The time it takes to send a text message can be upwards of five seconds, during which they can travel the distance of a football field if travelling at a speed of at least 55 miles per hour.Texting Laws in Rhode Island
Starting June 2018, Rhode Island legally banned the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. According to Rhode Island Statute § 31-22-30, the state’s texting and driving laws forbid sending e-mail messages as well. Drivers are forbidden from using cell phones to write, send, or read text messages. Not only can drivers not pick up their phone to text, they also are unable to use tablets, wireless handsets, or any other method that involves the use of their hands. The law also applies to a driver waiting at a red light.
Exceptions may arise for any job requiring the use of handset devices for safety purposes, such as emergency medical services and public safety officers. Other exemptions to the law are permitted if the driver was contacting emergency services, the automobile is parked and not in traffic, or the vehicle breaks down. The Providence car accident attorneys at Tapalian Law are equipped with decades of experience in Rhode Island to help ensure that victims of auto accidents caused by texting receive the representation they deserve.Proving Liability in a Texting & Driving Car Accident
For a victim to bring charges against another driver in a texting car accident, there must be proof of negligence while driving. Negligence arises when a person experiences harm due to someone else’s careless actions. For example, if someone was actively texting during a motor vehicle collision, or seconds before, then they may be held liable for negligence. An attorney focusing on car accidents may help a victim prove negligence by looking at the driver’s texting history. By obtaining cell phone records from their service provider, a lawyer could see if the driver used their phone at the time of, or directly prior to, the accident.
Negligence in texting car accidents may also be proven if there are witnesses that attest to the at-fault driver’s cell phone usage. For example, if a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk next to the collision site saw the events occurring prior to the crash, they may provide legal testimony to help prove negligence on the part of the motorist who caused the collision. In State of Rhode Island v. Jason Kilsey (2013), the driver was charged because a nearby State Trooper attested to his using a cell phone with a visibly displayed text message on the screen.
If you’ve been involved in a crash where you suspect the other driver was recklessly using a cell phone, provide as much information to the police as possible, so if applicable, they can issue a traffic citation noting the act of texting in the police report. Multiple victims can bring about a liability claim when a crash occurs due to a texting car accident such as both the driver of the damaged vehicle and any injured passengers, pedestrians or cyclists injured, or an estate of anyone killed in the crash. Those hurt by a negligent driver may be eligible to seek compensation for damages including medical bills, hospital expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you have lost a loved one in an auto accident, certain family members may be eligible to seek damages against the negligent driver with a wrongful death claim.Contact Tapalian Law for a Free Consultation of Your Personal Injury Claim
Providence Car Accident Attorney David Tapalian has decades of experience in Rhode Island and Massachusetts helping people hurt in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, and pedestrian accidents. At Tapalian Law, we offer a free consultation to discuss your injury claim and to explain your legal rights. With offices in Providence, Warwick, and Seekonk, we are easily accessible to RI and MA residents. We also offer legal services in Florida. Call Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000 or contact the office online to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation.