According to an article in today’s New York Times, the risk of accident caused by drivers who text while operating vehicles sharply exceeds previous estimates.
The study placed cameras in the cabs of 18-wheeler trucks. It found that when the drivers texted, they were 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident. The researchers believe that these findings are generally applicable to car drivers as well.
The issue of texting causing accidents has recently been highlighted by several highly publicized crashes caused by texting drivers, including a trolley car accident in Boston and a recent incident in Atlanta, Georgia when a passenger photographed a MARTA train operator texting while operating the train.
It takes about 5 seconds for a driver to take their eyes off the road, text and return their attention back to the road. This is about the time it takes for a car or truck traveling at normal highway speeds to cover the length of a football field. Clearly too long for one’s attention to be diverted while operating any vehicle.
As a Georgia lawyer who regularly litigates car and truck accident cases, it amazes me that texting and driving has not been brought to the forefront of attention. We, as a society, must put laws in place that stop drivers from texting while driving AND ENFORCE THE LAWS! When I drive in Atlanta to and from the office, I notice that half the people on the road are texting while driving. This is not an exaggeration. It is shocking to see people driving on the highway at 70 MPH and texting on the phone. Similarly, in stop and go traffic, simply look to your left and look to your right. What will you see? Well, chances are that one of those drivers will be texting (or worse yet, watching a movie or playing a game on their phone).
From a legal perspective, accidents caused by these people are skyrocketing and they are at fault. As I have discussed on other occasions, the following are the legal elements of a negligence claim, and a lawsuit based on a car wreck is a type of negligence claim:
Elements of a Negligence Claim
In order to win a negligence case, the plaintiff (the person injured) must prove the following elements to show that the defendant (the person at fault) acted negligently:
- Duty – The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances;
- Breach – The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way;
- Causation – It was the defendant’s actions (or inaction) that actually caused the plaintiff’s injury; and
- Damages – The plaintiff was harmed or injured as a result of the defendant’s actions.
On the roadways of Georgia, every driver owes a legal duty to all others to drive reasonably and to use caution. This duty is breached when a driver is texting while operating a vehicle. The action of texting is what caused the accident, and hence the plaintiff’s injuries. Finally, the damages are the injuries which flow from the accident. Therefore, these are all of the elements needed to support a lawsuit against a Georgia driver who causes and accident while texting.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming, has achieved great results in helping seriously injured clients fully recover for their injuries. We do this by fully investigating every case to determine the true cause of the accident and the liable parties. If you or a family member has been seriously injured, please contact us for a confidential and thorough evaluation of your case or, if you prefer, call Mr. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150.