Distracted driving and cell phones

Some Arkansas drivers may not realize how dangerous distracted driving can be. One study has shown that a person who is texting is 23 times more likely to crash than a person who is not texting due to distraction. Furthermore, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distraction caused almost 20 percent of fatal crashes in 2010.

Many organizations believe that educating people about the dangers of distracted driving is important for reducing these incidents, and as a result, the Federal Communications Commission is joining with other agencies to help spread that information. There are also steps the public can take to inform people about these dangers. For example, parents can warn teenage drivers about the dangers and should strive to set a good example for their children. They can also encourage their children's schools to share information about the dangers of distracted driving.

While there is no federal law against texting or using a cell phone while driving, many states have passed laws. In Arkansas, text messaging is banned for all drivers. Use of a handheld cell phone is banned for drivers between the ages of 18 and 20, and drivers younger than 18 years old cannot use cell phones while behind the wheel at all.

An individual who is injured in an accident in which the other driver is distracted by using their cell phone may be able to seek compensation in civil court. Use of a cellphone while behind the wheel may be considered negligence in a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney could help a client pursuing such an action build a case that seeks compensation for medical costs or lost wages.

Source: FCC, "The dangers of texting while driving", November 30, 2014

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