Phoenix Phone Texting and Distracted Driving Lawyer AZ
Representing victims of texting and distracted drivers throughout Arizona
Communication technologies have made great strides over the last decade, particularly with the advancement of smartphones. Unfortunately, these forward strides have also brought along some serious complications. Distracted driving is a serious problem on the roadways of Arizona. Instead of focusing their attention on the task of driving, far too many vehicle people are choosing to place their attention on smartphones, GPS systems, audio entertainment systems, or other distractions.
These troubling habits are not limited to passenger car drivers. Studies show that a significant number of truck drivers are also guilty of operating their extremely large vehicles while distracted by some device or activity. When car, truck, and motorcycle drivers get behind the wheel, their sole responsibility is to operate that vehicle in a safe and lawful manner. If you or a loved one was severely injured by a distracted driver, turn to the knowledgeable Phoenix distracted driving lawyers with years of experience representing vehicle accident victims. At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we earnestly investigate the cause of your injuries and then fight to hold all responsible parties accountable.
How can we help?
What is distracted driving?
Driver distraction, according to the US Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), includes any activity that takes the driver’s:
- Mind off of possible emergencies and possible ways to respond to emergencies
- Eyes off of traffic
- Hands off the steering wheel
Common types of driver distractions include:
- Texting while driving. The current Arizona laws on wireless communication use, including texting, are discussed below.
- Adjusting a radio, video, or other entertainment system. These activities take the driver’s eyes off traffic. Just a momentary lapse can cause a catastrophic or deadly accident.
- Eating and drinking. Drivers sometimes eat or drink with one hand while driving with the other hand. While these activities may seem harmless, they can take an operator's attention away from the road.
Other types of driver distraction include looking at a navigation system/GPS, attending to a child or pet in the vehicle, looking at the scenery, and any other activity that takes the driver’s full focus away from the roadway.
Distracted driving and cars
According to the CDC, about 3,000 people die in traffic accidents due to distracted driving each year. About 20 percent of those people were pedestrians, bicycle riders, or outside a vehicle for other reasons.
Driving is a fully immersive experience, in that it requires you to use multiple senses at once. Anything that takes away from that – looking at a map or a cell phone, driving with your earbuds in, etc. – decreases your ability to react quickly enough to avoid a crash.
Young people are especially prone to drive while they’re distracted. The CDC reports a 2019 survey of U.S. high school students found that 39 percent of “high school students who drove in the past 30 days texted or emailed while driving on at least one of those days.”
Parents often use entertainment systems to keep their children occupied. When parents take the time to look at these systems themselves or how their children are behaving, they’re not watching the traffic around them – which can quickly cause a car accident.
Distracted driving and trucks
Federal and state agencies, like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT), have attempted to mitigate the number of distracted truck driving incidents by implementing restrictions on the actions of commercial truck drivers while operating their vehicles. ‘
The attorneys of Plattner Verderame, P.C. have seen various types of distracted driver truck accidents, including those involving the following actions:
- Talking on a cell phone. The FMCSA prohibits the use of handheld cell phones by commercial truck operators. This regulation includes reaching for a phone, dialing a phone, or talking on a handheld phone. Violations of this rule are punished with fines and driving disqualifications.
- Texting and driving. Studies show that commercial truck drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a vehicle accident when texting. These activities are also prohibited by the FMCSA and punishable by fines and disqualification from service.
- Using a dispatching device. Many truck drivers use dispatching equipment to communicate with their employers. While this activity is generally allowed under the law, it can still be extremely distracting. Some trucking companies are implementing hands-free dispatch systems, but many still require vehicle operators to hold dispatch communication devices.
Any of these actions can take a truck driver's attention away from the tens of thousands of pounds they are driving and the many other people on the roadways around them.
Distracted driving and motorcycles
It’s hard to explain, but some drivers feel like they have more of a right to the road than bikers, cyclists, or pedestrians. Add in a ringing cell phone or a beeping GPS, and a distracted driver can become even less aware of riders than before. Because of this, distracted drivers pose dangers to motorcyclists every time they share the road.
Some of the most common causes of distracted driver/motorcycle accidents by cars, trucks, buses, and other drivers of enclosed vehicles include:
- Turning left in front of riders at intersections
- Drifting into other lanes
- Failing to signal as they change lanes or turn
- Failing to stop in time at red lights, stop signs, or in unexpected scenarios
- Using their “brights” on dark roads when coming in the opposite direction
- Throwing litter out onto the road
- Opening their car doors into traffic
Motorcycle drivers themselves can also become easily distracted. Because of the exciting nature of riding a motorcycle, it is understandable that there would be sizable mental distractions that could potentially get in the way of riding safely. The beautiful views and open roads of Arizona lend themselves to thoughts of freedom and can bring about daydreaming.
Even though this may sound more glorious than dangerous, being mentally distracted can influence your ability to stay safe on the road. Whether you’re taking in the sites in Fountain Hills or navigating the curves in Lake Pleasant, or simply trying to make it from Point A to Point B, it’s easy to start paying more attention to the sights than to the roads – and your fellow riders can fall prey to that, too.
If you are riding a motorcycle, you should develop a routine and some best practices for ensuring safety on your ride. Some common safety precautions that bikers practice include:
- Choosing when and where to most appropriately ride
- Avoiding riding in inclement weather
- Avoiding a motorcycle ride to "clear your head,” and instead hitting the road after you can focus
- Zipping up or otherwise putting away cell phones or other devices that might distract you while riding
- Not adjusting the radio or other non-essentials during a ride
- Watching out for riders drifting into the lanes
- Being aware of upcoming curves
What are the current texting and driving laws in Arizona?
Arizona does have a law that regulates the use of portable communication devices while driving.
A portable wireless communication device includes cellular phones, stand-along computers, personal digital assistants, global positioning systems receivers, and other similar portable wireless devices. It doesn’t include radio, citizens band radio, prescribed medical devices, in-vehicle security, and other exceptions.
The law provides that drivers cannot operate a motor vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, or another vehicle type) while:
- Physically holding or supporting with any body part any of the following:
- A portable wireless communication device – unless the driver uses “an earpiece, headphone device or device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice-based communication.”
- A stand-alone electronic device.
- Writing, sending, or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, email or internet data, on a portable wireless communication device or stand-alone electronic device.
Exceptions may apply for voice-based communications, hands-free devices used for vehicle navigation, a global positioning system, or “obtaining motor vehicle information or information related to driving a motor vehicle.” Other device exceptions may apply such as for law enforcement vehicle operators, people summoning emergency help, and for other reasons.
Effective January 2021, the civil penalties are $75 to $149 for a first offense, and $150 to $240 for a subsequent offense.
Do you have a distracted driver lawyer near me?
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., our personal injury lawyers meet clients at our office located at 316 E Flower St. in Phoenix. We also have a Tempe office.
When necessary, we meet clients away from the office or through video conferences.
Our injury lawyers will calmly and clearly guide you through each stage of the accident claims process.
Work with a Phoenix distracted driver lawyer who will act for injury victims
Don’t be afraid to hold negligent parties responsible for the pain and suffering they brought into your life. Trust a law firm with a proven record of courtroom success to aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. There’s no need to worry about upfront costs. Plattner Verderame, P.C. will handle your case on a contingency basis, so you owe nothing unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Call us today or contact us to schedule a free consultation.