As cell phones become more and more common, some States have enacted laws regulating their use while driving. In Washington State, text messaging on a cell phone has been banned starting in July 2008 and violators are subject to a $101 ticket. That is because tests show that people talking on a cell phone or text messaging are as impaired as someone who has been abusing drugs or is under the influence of alcohol. In other states, laws regarding the use of the cell phone while driving vary and you can check them at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Often, the use of a cell phone can cause a driver to be inattentive and the cell phone usage can be a significant cause in any accident.
If you are in an accident and you believe that the other driver was talking on a cell phone at the time, here are some steps you should take:
- As in any accident, try to stay calm and then start collecting the facts. Note the time of the accident because this is important if your lawyer needs to look at the other driver’s cell phone records. Be sure to mention to the police officers when they arrive at what time the accident occurred.
- Ask witnesses if they saw the driver on the cell phone. Or, when you talk to the other driver, you might ask, “Were you using a cell phone?” If they admit they were, your witnesses may be able to testify to that fact.
- Ask the police officer to check their cell phone, record their cell phone number and the last few calls made and received and note the times of these calls. If the person refuses to let the officer see their phone, then ask the officer to obtain their cell phone number.
- After you receive medical attention, be sure to contact an experienced automobile accident attorney who may be able to legally preserve the person’s cell phone records and connect them with the time of the accident. This can help you prove your case in court.
The Farber Law Group is a Washington law firm with more than 30 years experience in handling auto accident cases. Contact us if you have received serious personal injuries or severe whiplash. We are happy to meet with you and provide a free consultation.