Dangerous Driving: How Texting and Other Cell/Smart Phone Uses Can Hurt You and Those You Love

“Distracted driving” has become a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways and cell/smart phones when used in an automobile or other vehicle can be a significant part of the problem. Cell phones and smart phones have become an almost essential part of modern life; but, as is the case with many good things, there is a down side. The attorneys at Seaton and Lohr have held negligent drivers accountable when their inattention or preoccupation causes a serious accident that injures or kills another person.

What is “distracted driving”? The simple answer is whatever causes a driver to take his or her eyes off of the road and/or their hands off of the steering wheel. Heading the list of distractions are cell/smart phone use while driving. Likewise, texting while driving has become a safety issue for the public driving on the roadways of America. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “distracted driving” is responsible for 80% of all accidents.

Drivers can do some amazing things while operating a motor vehicle that fall under distracted driving. Changing a radio station and eating and drinking while driving are fairly standard distractions that many drivers do at some point or another. Other distractions include applying makeup and other grooming methods, watching a video, talking to passengers, trying to follow a navigation system or anything else that causes the driver to take her/his eyes away from the road and his/her hands off of the steering wheel, even for mere seconds.

Distracted driving has become such a serious issue that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has a website, Distraction.Gov., devoted exclusively to distracted driving related issues.

One of the most common causes of distracted driving and one that has received the most attention is texting while driving. The statistics are quite sobering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 71% of teens and young adults say they have composed and/or sent text messages while driving and 78% read a text while driving. By far the largest proportion of “distracted drivers” are under the age of 20. Tragically 10% of drivers under the age of 20 were involved in fatal crashes.

Individual states have already passed laws making texting, cell/smart phone use while driving a motor vehicle illegal. In New Hampshire a ban on handheld devices such as cell/smart phones went into effect in July, 2015. This law bans the use of a cell or smart phone while driving but, unless you are a novice driver, does not prohibit using these devices hands free with a blue tooth device or other voice activation system that keeps your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.

Bottom line is that if you are a novice or beginning driver, you cannot text, or use a cell/smart phone while driving, even hands free. If you are an experienced driver you must have a voice activation system installed in your motor vehicle to be in compliance with the law. Under no circumstances can you legally text while driving.

The attorneys at Seaton and Lohr are experienced accident attorneys and know what steps to take to prepare a strong case if texting or cell/smart phone use has been a factor in the accident. The lawyers at Seaton and Lohr have a proven record of success in holding negligent drivers accountable for the damages and injuries they have caused in a variety of vehicle accidents in Dover and the surrounding areas such as Somersworth, Rollinsford, Durham, Rochester and throughout the state of New Hampshire.

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