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Distracted Driving: Texting & Cell Phone Use

Teens using cell phone while drivingHelping victims with serious car accident injuries in Portland, Lewiston, Auburn and Southern Maine.

If you or someone you love has suffered harm at the hands of a distracted driver, finding a skilled Maine car accident lawyer is the first step in securing the financial compensation you will likely need to begin the process of recovery. With the explosion in popularity of handheld electronic devices of all types, it should come as no surprise that car accidents caused by distracted driving have become an extremely serious problem on roads across the country. Sadly, the injuries that can stem from such incidents can be devastating and long-lasting.

At Hardy, Wolf & Downing, we possess nearly four decades of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims throughout Maine and stand prepared to zealously seek justice on your behalf.

While it is certainly true that smartphones and other devices offer a tremendous degree of freedom and flexibility in our daily lives, the temptation to use them at any given moment is often too much for some to resist. As a result, distracted driving accidents are on the rise, and the injuries that result are often life-changing for victims.

Costly medical treatments, ongoing rehabilitation, physical therapy, lost wages and other expenses leave many wondering how they will be able to carry on with a normal life. By aligning yourself with a seasoned Maine personal injury lawyer, you will give yourself the best chance possible to hold accountable those responsible for your circumstances and receive the justice you deserve.

The dangerous epidemic of distracted driving

While distracted driving encompasses a broad range of behaviors, cell phone usage accounts for an alarming number of incidents.

Some of the most common activities involving cell phone use behind the wheel include:

  • Sending and receiving text messages
  • Speaking on the phone (even with hands-free accessories)
  • Reading email messages
  • Browsing the internet
  • Dialing the phone
  • Reaching for a ringing phone

Many drivers make the mistake of thinking that taking their eyes off the road for a very brief period of time is unlikely to impact their ability to drive safely. However, research has shown that reading or sending a text message requires roughly 4.6 seconds, the same time it takes to drive the full length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. Clearly, that is plenty of time for a catastrophic accident to occur.

Texting while driving has been found to boost the risk of having a car accident by 23 times. At any daylight moment in the United States, upwards of 660,000 individual drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices while on the road, with nearly 25% of teenage drivers admitting to checking social media sites online while driving. These statistics are truly frightening, and have prompted the U.S. Department of Transportation to recently implement a national advertising campaign and law enforcement initiative aimed at combating distracted driving.

Though cell phone use is perhaps the most pernicious hazard when it comes to distracted driving, several other distractions cause a frightening number of injury accidents each year.

In addition to texting and cell phone use, other examples of distracted driving include:

  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Grooming and applying makeup
  • Adjusting the sound system
  • Speaking to passengers
  • Reading maps or other materials

If you have fallen victim to the carelessness of distracted driving, you are not alone. At Hardy, Wolf & Downing, we understand the physical and emotional trauma you are experiencing, and we want to help. Our network of professionals includes medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, case investigators and support staff, all of whom will work tirelessly to marshal evidence and establish liability in your case.

Eyewitness statements, traffic camera videos and cellular phone data can be used to prove driver fault in a distracted driving case, and our team knows how to obtain this and other evidence to prove your claim.

Maine laws related to distracted driving

Maine law currently imposes no prohibition on handheld cell phone usage for drivers in the state, with the exception of drivers with only learner’s permits or provisional licenses. Neither group may use cellular phones, regardless of whether a hands-free device is in operation. Texting and driving is banned in Maine, and drivers cited for doing so receive a minimum fine of $250 for a first offense and $500 for second and any subsequent violations within a three-year time span. Mandatory license suspensions apply to repeat texting-while-driving offenders.

Such restrictions are a good start, but it seems clear that far too many drivers simply will not be deterred from engaging in distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. If you have the misfortune of suffering car accident injuries, you need attorneys with a track record of success providing personalized, effective representation. At Hardy, Wolf & Downing, our nearly 40 years of combined experience renders us uniquely qualified to assert your rights and fight for the compensation to which you are entitled.

Compensation in distracted driving cases

There can be no debate about the serious nature of distracted driving accidents and the severe consequences they can bring to victims. Given the life-altering injuries that frequently follow such incidents, it is vital that those involved understand the sorts of compensation that may be available.

Compensation in car accident lawsuits in Maine may be available for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death/funeral expenses
  • Past, current and future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Loss of marital relationship

Portland and Lewiston Maine car accident attorneys

We understand the confusion, fear and uncertainty the aftermath of a serious car accident inevitably brings. However, you need to know that the law does afford you the ability to fight for fair compensation and accountability from those responsible for the harm you have sustained, especially when texting while driving, cell phone usage, or other forms of distracted driving contributed to your injuries.

The Maine car accident lawyers at Hardy Wolf, & Downing have the knowledge and tools necessary to perform a thorough evaluation of the facts of your case and give you the legal insights you need to make informed decisions about your future.

To arrange for a no-cost initial consultation and to avail yourself of our decades of successful personal injury advocacy, contact us at 1-800-INJURED.

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. DOT Launches First-Ever National Distracted Driving Enforcement and Advertising Campaign, http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2014/DOT+Launches+First+Ever+National+Distracted+Driving+Enforcement+and_Advertising+Campaign
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA Survey Finds 66,000 Drivers Using Cell Phones or Manipulating Electronic Devices While Driving at Any Given Daylight Moment, http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/NHTSA+Survey+Finds+660,000+Drivers+Using+Cell+Phones+or+Manipulating+Electronic+Devices+While+Driving+At+Any+Given+Daylight+Moment
  3. National Safety Council, Cell Phone Crash Data, http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/Cell-Phone-Crash-Data.aspx
  4. Distraction.gov, What is Distracted Driving?, http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html