February 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Distracted drivers may be on the Internet
Most motorists probably know that texting or talking on a cell phone while driving can be sources of potentially deadly distraction. Educational campaigns have carried that message widely.
However, other uses of smart phones have received less attention so far. These sophisticated electronic devices are capable of accessing the World Wide Web, and drivers who "web" while driving are putting everyone on the road at risk of car crashes.
Study finds "webbing" is up
A new survey from State Farm assessed the frequency of Internet use by drivers in all age groups. State Farm surveyed 1,000 drivers in July 2012. Not too surprisingly, the survey found that almost half of the younger drivers, aged 18 to 29, had accessed the Internet while driving. This 2012 result was up from 29 percent in a 2009 survey.
The younger drivers engaged in checking e-mail at an increasing rate -- 32 percent of them in 2009, rising to 43 percent in 2012. More than a third, or 36 percent, accessed social media networks while driving in 2012; only about a fifth, or 21 percent, accessed these networks while driving in 2009.
For the total survey sample comprising drivers of all ages, 21 percent used the Internet while driving in 2012, up from 13 percent in 2009. In 2012 almost one in six, or 15 percent, used their smart phones to check social media networks, an increase from just nine percent in 2009.
Courts react to electronic distractions
Recently a Florida court ruled in a case involving a driver who had been talking on a cell phone. The cell phone user's car slammed into a car ahead while going 45 miles per hour and then came to an abrupt stop. The driver of a car following was unable to stop, and as a result rear-ended the cell phone user's vehicle.
The general rule of law has been that a driver who rear-ends another vehicle has no legal grounds for claiming that the other vehicle's driver has any liability for the accident. Drivers are supposed to avoid following too closely or at an excessive rate of speed, and should be able to stop if the car ahead slows down or stops.
In this case, the driver who crashed into the cell phone user's car stated that she tried to keep four car lengths back and had slowed down to 35 miles per hour. Despite her precautions, she could not avoid a collision when the cell phone user's car came to such a sudden stop. She wanted to be able to sue the cell phone user for damages.
The judge said that the presumption that a driver who rear-ends another car cannot sue is not a true legal standard, but a tool that juries can use in negligence cases. Florida has a comparative negligence system, and juries need not presume that the rear-ending driver is at fault, said the judge. Instead, they can assess the evidence of other drivers' possible negligence.
In this case, then, it would be possible to take into consideration the fact that the cell phone user had at least a share of the fault for the accident. In determining how much could be recovered in a claim for negligence, that driver could be at least partly liable.
When someone else's negligence causes a car crash that leaves a victim injured, the injured party needs legal advocacy. Those who are responsible should be held accountable and required to compensate injured parties. It may be possible to recover medical expenses, lost wages and payment for pain and suffering. If you have been injured by someone else's negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Article provided by Ingram & Eno, P.A.
Visit us at http://www.ingram-eno.com/---
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