Texting while driving is the act of reading, viewing, writing, or sending text messages via cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
Texting while driving is a moving traffic violation and may be a criminal misdemeanor in certain jurisdictions. Studies have shown that texting while driving increases the risk of a vehicle crash by anywhere from 2.8 to 23.2 times than normal. The laws covering texting are aimed more at deterrence (prevention) rather than recovery of losses.
Similar to cell phone use laws, texting while driving laws vary from state to state. Currently, 44 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. Four states prohibit teenage drivers and new drivers from text messaging. Three states do not allow school bus drivers from text messaging.
States that do not have any type of restriction on texting while driving are:
The following states have a more lenient texting law:
As mentioned, the laws governing texting while driving vary from state to state. However, punishment for texting while driving generally includes a combination of the following:
The severity of punishments increases with repeat offenses. For example, after a second offense, the judge may choose to issue a higher fine or a longer jail sentence.
In addition to legal consequences, other consequences for texting while driving include:
Finally, in some jurisdictions commercial drivers and school bus drivers are held to stricter standards. Violations can result in fines of over $2,000 for truck and bus drivers.
The exact amount of compensation will be different based on the facts of the case. However, you can receive compensatory damage awards for any injuries you suffered. You can also recover money for any expenses you had or any money you lost because of your injury.
In some cases, punitive damages may be added. Punitive damages are designed to punish the offender for his or her actions. For example, if the person who injured you was fined for texting while driving previously, the court may add punitive damages onto the amount of money awarded.
You should contact a personal injury attorney if you were involved in an accident with a driver who was texting while driving. A personal injury lawyer can help you recover any money you lost because of the driver’s negligence.
Texting while driving is a serious offense and can even result in criminal misdemeanor charges. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer if you are involved in a charge of texting while driving. It is especially important to seek advice from a lawyer if the offense resulted in great injury or the death of another driver. Also, if the charge is a second or repeat offense, you should obtain legal representation as the punishments will be more severe than first-time charges.
Last Modified: 04-08-2016 11:55 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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