Texting & Driving in Indiana:
The Dangers, the Law, and Your Rights Following an Accident
There is no doubt that the modernization of the cell phone adds convenience to the average life – with smart devices, we can communicate with others instantaneously, discover nearly any piece of information in the world, and provide ourselves with hours of entertainment. But cellphones and other handheld devices are as dangerous as they are convenient. To be sure, the number of car accidents related to distracted driving, especially texting while driving, has increased dramatically in recent years. Texting and driving is a serious threat on Indiana roads, and is also against the law. Here’s what you should know about this dangerous behavior–
Texting and Driving: Statistics
Distracted driving has always been a cause of accidents. Before cellphones, people were distracted–and still are today–by tasks like putting on makeup or self-grooming, attending to passengers or pets in the car, rubbernecking, changing the radio, and more. But distracted driving-related accidents have increased. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2016 alone, distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives. The administration further reports that texting while driving is the “most alarming distraction.”
Data posted on TeenSafe confirms how dangerous texting while driving is, stating that texting while behind the wheel is six times more likely to cause an accident than is drinking while driving. What’s more, one out of every four crashes in America is caused by cell phone usage, and texting while driving increases the chance of an accident by 23 times. Those are indeed some alarming numbers.
What’s the Law Say About Texting and Driving in Indiana?
Not only is texting while driving dangerous, but it’s also illegal too. Current prohibitions in the state including a prohibition on texting while driving for all drivers – a violation of this law can result in a fine of up to $500, and texting while driving is a primary offense (which means that a person can be pulled over for texting and driving alone). While the law does allow adults to use cellphones otherwise, drivers under the age of 21 cannot use cellphones or any other wireless communication devices while behind the wheel.
It should be noted that while a ban on texting while driving is a great start, it’s not enough. All cellphone-related activities, such as using the GPS system, talking on the phone, checking one’s email, using apps, and more have the potential to be dangerous. A phone should be put away when a person is behind the wheel of a car.
In an Accident with a Texting Driver, Who’s to Blame?
Texting drivers, as well as drivers who are otherwise distracted by cellphones and other things, are dangerous. When these drivers cause accidents, they should be held liable for the harm that results.
Fortunately, the law in Indiana allows those injured in car accidents to do exactly that: hold the responsible party liable for their damages. In order to recoup compensation from an at-fault party, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to them by committing an act of negligence or negligence per se (a breach of law), and that the breach of duty of care was the direct cause of harm.
Having proof that a driver was texting at the time that your accident occurred can be a valuable piece of evidence in your claim. However, even if you cannot prove that texting occurred, and therefore that driver was in violation of the law, you can still hold the driver liable for your damages if you can prove that they committed any action that was irresponsible and led to the accident, such as swerving, following too closely, failing to yield, traveling into oncoming traffic, speeding, etc.
Our Text and Drive Accident Attorneys in Fort Wayne Are Here to Help You
Texting while driving is dangerous, illegal, and a clear violation of the duty of care that a driver owes to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists on the road. While we understand how tempting it can be to use a phone while behind the wheel, doing so is never acceptable.
If you have been involved in an accident with a texting-while-driving driver, you deserve to be compensated. Our car accident attorneys in Indiana understand how potentially devastating a crash can be, and want to help you recover every cent that you have lost in economic and noneconomic damages. To schedule a free consultation with our lawyers to discuss your options and learn more about how we can help, please call us directly or send us a message. We have years of experience in and out of the courtroom and a reputation of excellence.