Distracted driving is deadly

Distracted driving is when a driver engages in any activity that diverts attention from the primary task of driving. All distractions can endanger the driver, other drivers, passengers, and bystanders. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States, contributing to more than 5,000 traffic-related deaths each year.

Some of the most common types of distractions drivers indulge in are listed below:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading anything, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player

Most of these tasks are very simple, but it only takes a second of distraction for accidents to happen. Distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic-related personal injury claims.

Massachusetts bans the use of handheld devices

Cellphone use was dangerous enough in its own right, but smartphone use is often the common denominator in many distracted driving cases. In an attempt to curb the practice, Massachusetts passed a law in October 2010 banning use of certain handheld devices. In 2012, Massachusetts police officers wrote 1,700 tickets statewide for texting and driving.

Massachusetts’ current law limiting the use of handheld devices while driving punishes the following activities:

  • Text messaging — Bans all drivers from texting or engaging in any other internet-related activities while operating a vehicle. Fines for texting while driving start at $100 for the first offense and increase to $500 for a third offense.
  • Cellphones prohibited for minors — Drivers under age 18 are banned from using cellphones or any other mobile electronic device. Fines start at $100 for the first offense and increase to $500 for a third offense, plus graduated license suspension.
  • Public transit ban — School bus operators and other public transit drivers are banned from using cellphones while driving, and fines start at $500.

Cellphone use contributes to negligence

A contributory negligence theory prevents recovery for people who helped cause the accident in which they were injured. For example, if the driver of Car A is texting and gets sideswiped by Car B, causing the driver of Car A to run off the road, hit a utility pole and get injured, the driver of Car B may escape liability under a contributory negligence theory. This is so because Car A had the last clear chance to avoid the accident but failed to do so because the driver was texting, a negligent act that contributed to the cause of the injuries.

Call today to arrange a free consultation

Thornton Law Firm LLP has been protecting Boston’s injured for 35 years. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the attorneys at Thornton Law Firm LLP for a free consultation. We provide legal services in personal injury cases on a contingency-fee basis. You don’t pay unless we win your case for you. Call us today at 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online.