Texting or talking on the phone while driving has become an epidemic. Not only are drivers distracted by their mobile devices to the point that they are not even looking at the road, but many times distracted drivers do not even have their hands on the steering wheel. Distracted driving not only delays reaction time, but in many cases, eliminates the ability for drivers to even apply their brakes before causing a collision.
A new study reminds us just how dangerous it is. The National Safety Council’s annual injury and fatality report, “Injury Facts,” found that the use of cellphones causes 26 percent of the nation’s car accidents. As you guessed, most of these are due to motorists talking or texting on their smartphones or other electronic devices. Other distractions include playing music or taking care of other issues or people in the car. Whatever the cause, we provide excellent counsel if you’re the one accused or if you’re the one hurt.
Texting, accessing the internet and hand-held cell phone use while driving are illegal in Nevada as of January 1st, 2012 (NRS 484B.165). The fines are $50 for the first offense in seven years, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. Fines are subject to doubling if the offense occurs in a work zone. Courts may assess additional administrative fees. The first offense is not treated as a moving violation. A second or subsequent offense carries 4 demerit points. You can talk using a hands-free headset and, while making voice calls, touch the phone to “activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device.”
When one driver sues another for damage resulting from a car accident, the person bringing the lawsuit has to prove that the other driver caused the accident through his or her careless driving. In recent U.S. cases, some courts have ruled that the driver was legally at fault for the accident because the driver used a cell phone before or during the car accident. This could include: driving with only one of your hands on the steering wheel, taking your eyes off the road due to a cell phone, or being so involved in a phone conversation that you fail to be aware of your surroundings.
In other recent cases, employers have been held liable for when their employees used cell phones for business while driving and had a collision. The law is unclear whether parents can be held liable for the distracted driving by their children. In addition, insurance companies are watching these situations very closely. They’ve been known to raise the premium on individuals who have been ticketed for distracted driving.
All of these situations require top-notch legal attention. We can assist you if you have problems with the law in this area.