Distracted driving is rampant in Tennessee and in states across the nation. The latest distraction is not simply the cell phone calls that drivers make and receive, but the culprit is now texting while driving. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) reported that distracted driving is the primary killer of American teenagers. Data revealed that 16% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. In addition to fatalities, many victims suffer serious injuries from accidents involving drivers who are not paying attention to the road. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident as a result of distracted driving, it is important to contact an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney to help you protect your rights.
According to the NHTSA, people are 23 times more likely to crash when texting while driving. In 2010, Tennessee enacted the “Texting While Driving Law” (TCA 55-8-199), making it illegal to text and drive in that state. In 2011, research conducted by the Center for Transportation at the University of Tennessee showed that Tennesseans consider texting while driving to be as threatening as drinking while driving. Despite these concerns, many drivers still do it. The survey revealed that at that time, one out of five drivers engaged in these behaviors in the past 30 days.
Out of concern for the safety of its citizens, just last month, the Tennessee Highway Patrol began using an 18-wheeler to detect drivers who are texting, drinking or not wearing a seatbelt. From their vantage point, drivers high up in the cab of a truck can see a great deal more than the officers in highway patrol cars. The trucking troopers are not the ones who pull over the offending drivers, but rather they will “radio” the violation to headquarters, which will then dispatch a patrol car. Law enforcement officials say that the program has been a “great success” and will continue using the 18-wheelers randomly.
They probably could use a program like this in Alabama where a driver was recently pulled over for “double-texting” in the George Wallace Tunnel in Mobile County. According to reports, the 19 year-old driver told the sheriff’s office that since he was 15, he had been driving with his knees while texting with a phone in each hand. While texting with a phone in each hand sounds crazy to most of us, a great deal of society texts with one phone while driving. The numbers appear to be on the rise. According to a recent study at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three people admitted that they read or send text or email messages while they are driving, compared with the earlier number of one in five. These are alarming statistics with the potential to cause life-altering — or worse, life-ending — injuries.
Victims who have suffered injuries as a result of a distracted driving accident may be entitled to damages. It is important to consult with an experienced, local attorney to help you determine your rights to a recovery.
If you have questions about potential claims arising from a car or motorcycle accident, contact us for a free consultation at the Law Office of David S. Hagy, PLC at (615) 975-7882, or use our online form. We serve clients in Nashville and throughout Tennessee.