Archive for the ‘Text Message Accidents’ Category

The Issue of Texting While Driving

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Technology today is one aspect of our lives that our parents, and grandparents could have never imagined when they were children. Today, technology has ultimately not only helped us complete tasks that were once very difficult, but also in an easier, and more efficient fashion. One particular area of technology that certainly displays this is that of the cellphone. The cellphone has evolved greatly within the past few decades, which was once a large bulky item is now virtually the size of a credit card. Aside from its size, cellphones now serve more than one function of simply talking to another individual verbally, and now can virtually do anything a computer can.

The Power of Cellphones

However, although cellphones such a positive, and useful purpose in our world today what are the negative aspects of such a great device? The fact is that the majority of our lives are spent behind the wheel of an automobile commuting, running errands, dropping off our loved ones and picking them up, and traveling. In order to accomplish all of these many, and demand aspects of our lives we rely on our vehicles, which in turn, requires that of our focus, and attention.

Cause and Effect

Unfortunately, cellphones detract the attention of an individual greatly, and are the leading cause of automobile accidents today. Although it is in fact illegal to use your cellphone behind the wheel texting or talking, unless with a wireless headset, individuals ignore the laws associated with this and continue to put not only their safety at risk, but also that of all other motorists and pedestrians out there. Yet, how does this actually occur? Situationally, drivers usually get behind the wheel and are either texting a friend, checking one of their many social media outlets, or simply responding to a few emails. In order to do this it requires that they read a prior message that was sent to them, but also type as well as read what they are sending back, which ultimately means they will look at their device and away from the road.

By doing this drivers avert their attention and leave the possibility of an accident highly likely. Make sure when you are on the road that you realize what you number one, ultimate duty is as a driver, which is that of getting from one point to the next safely, with your well-being and others in mind.

At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (800-707-9577) to see how we can help.

Do Texting While Driving Bans Meet Their Purpose?

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Technology is one aspect of our world that certainly has evolved within the past few decades. We as a society have transitioned from computers taking up entire rooms to simply sitting in our lap, or within the palm of our hand. Today, technology can be seen almost everywhere around us whether it is in our office, home, automobile, and even our cellphone in our pocket. One device that has certainly transitioned to better proportions is that of the cellphone. Cellphones in this day and age can have our lives perfectly scheduled, full of our personal information, oh, and can even allow us to communicate on them.

Technology Meets Terrain

Although cellphones certainly help us every single day they are also actually hurting us as well. Driving while texting, or talking on the phone is extremely dangerous that puts all drivers, and pedestrians at risk in one way or another. Many states today have adopted laws that ban texting while driving, and some ban the use of a cellphone entirely behind the wheel. While these laws are set up for our protection, and for our safety during our time on the road are they actually meeting their purpose and doing their job?

The Results of Texting While Driving

The answer is no. Regardless of laws and bans being in place individuals not only within your community or your state, but the entire country are still driving around reckless on the road while using their cellular device. In the past, we can see a large amount of accidents that have occurred as a result of texting while driving. Yet, unfortunately these accidents were not simply incidents that resulted in a fender bender, but ended with an individual receiving a life-long debilitating injury, or were ultimately killed as a result of the accident.

Today, there are many things in our world that we have absolutely zero control over. We cannot control the weather, what song will come on the radio next, or even the events within our day. However, there is one thing that we can control, which is that of our safety on the road. Make sure when you are operating a motor vehicle to stay away from your phone and stick to be safe until you reach your destination.

If you suffer any of these serious injuries because of an anesthesia mistake, our experienced Mississippi anesthesia medical malpractice lawyers are committed to assisting victims of substandard medical care obtain the financial compensation to rebuild their lives.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Texting: Who Is Liable?

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Technology is an aspect of our world that is constantly changing every single day. The moment that we purchase the most updated, newest item the very next day it becomes either the previous model, or outdated. Although the actual hardware of technology can change, and vary over time their role and function seems to remain the same. The cellphone is one device that is constantly changing with different features, but is still used for its main purpose, communication. Today, texting is a common form of communication, which a variety of individuals participate in all throughout the day.

Cellphones behind the Wheel

However, one place that texting is, and should not be is behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Texting and driving today claims the lives of many, and can occur in the blink of an eye all throughout the United States. Research, and studies show that texting while driving, or using your phone at all behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is actually more dangerous than driving under the influence. We see accidents caused by texting and driving, or using a cellphone all the time, which we may actually even ourselves cause, or be involved in. Yet, when it comes down to an automobile accident caused by a text message is the sender, or the receiver at fault?

Sender or Accident Contributor?

Usually, one would automatically think that an individual who reads the text message while driving is at fault. However, one recent case shines a new light on the matter at hand. A 19-year-old man was driving and was texting his mother, who knew he was out driving. As a result, the boy crashed into two motorcyclists, which led to one’s legs being amputated and the other being seriously injured. Today, the attorney of the motorcyclists is claiming that the mother is also at fault for the accident and knew that her son was operating a motor vehicle and texting at the same time.

When it comes down to cellphones within a motor vehicle make sure that yours is put in your glove compartment box, or in your consol. If you are truly the type of individual who is always talking on the phone makes sure to invest in a hands free device that can help you keep your attention on the wheel and the road.

If you suffer any of these serious injuries because of an anesthesia mistake, our experienced Mississippi anesthesia medical malpractice lawyers are committed to assisting victims of substandard medical care obtain the financial compensation to rebuild their lives.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

The Aftermath of Texting and Driving

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Driving is a very average part of life, which the majority of us are required to do each day. Whether we are commuting from work, to school, or running our various, yet never ending errands we seem to always be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle in order to do so.  However, behind the wheel of a car our focus is not always truly on the safety measures we should be taking, or watching other drivers in order to make sure that we are safe, but the majority of the time we simply are trying to process, and keep up with our busy day.

The Ideology Behind Texting While Driving

 Texting and driving is not a new concept today by any means. Many studies and research are beginning to state that the majority of accidents, and traffic violations today are due to cell phone usage behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. While many individuals believe that they are superb multi-taskers and can drive and operate their cellphone at the same time they are sadly mistaken. When you are focused not only on a conversation, but a conversation that requires you to use your hands and focus to type on buttons while you operate a motor vehicle the possibilities and results are catastrophic.

The Results of Texting While Driving

 Unfortunately, more and more individuals today are being touched in their lives by texting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. One case truly shows what the effects of texting and driving can do to a family in the blink of an eye. A mother had recently had a baby, and was out running errands with her 5 year old, and newborn child while still on her maternity leave. The woman was running errands that day to get decorations for the Labor Day festivities that would be taking place at her home that weekend. However, as she was driving, a young white female began to veer into her lane, head-on, and crashed into the vehicle carrying the mother and her children.

Today, those two children will have to live without their mother for the rest of their lives thanks to the young woman texting while she was driving. Remember when you take your eyes off the road for just a moment, whether you are texting or not, you increase your risk, and the risk of others as well of being involved in a serious accident.

If you suffer any of these serious injuries because of an anesthesia mistake, our experienced Mississippi anesthesia medical malpractice lawyers are committed to assisting victims of substandard medical care obtain the financial compensation to rebuild their lives.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

New Strategies to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents Involving Drivers Engaged in Text Messaging

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Despite the fact that 35 states have passed laws prohibiting text messaging while driving, many drivers continue to engage in this extremely risky behavior.  A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that sixty (60) percent of drivers admit to texting while driving.  The majority of those that indicated they engaged in such activity indicated that they did so even though they recognized the danger of such activity.  This blog has previously discussed how laws prohibiting texting while driving may be ineffective because of rather mild penalties and serious enforcement issues that are caused by the inability of police officers to determine how a mobile phone is being used.

However, there are a growing number of suggestions as to how to keep people from engaging in text messaging while driving from a variety of sources.  These suggestions include a recommendation last year by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) prohibiting the use of all electronic devices while driving.  While this proposed ban goes further than current laws in the states that ban texting while driving by prohibiting ALL use of ALL electronic devices, it may still have limited effectiveness unless the penalties that accompany violations are substantial.  A universal ban on the use of all electronic devices would certainly make enforcement easier for police officer.  This would remove the difficulty of having to determine if a driver is using their cell phone for hands free talking, GPS navigation, text messaging or any other function.

While the NTSB proposal would make enforcement of cell phone texting violations more effective, it still might not deter this dangerous activity.  Most state cell phone bans impose minimal consequences for violations so the deterrent impact of the laws is limited.  There is evidence that incarceration, substantial fines or driver’s license suspensions combined with a comprehensive ban on all use of electronic devices might be an effective way of preventing distracted driving accidents caused by texting drivers.  A survey conducted by the Ad Council found that 96 percent of those asked indicated that the imposition of jail time, significant fines, increased insurance rates and other financial and legal consequences would discourage them from texting and driving.  An example of such an approach exists with commercial drivers who must pay a fine of $2,700 if they violate a ban on text messaging while operating a tractor-trailer (trucking companies must pay an $11,000 fine for violations by its truck drivers).

Another strategy to prevent driving while text messaging is to impose civil liability not only on the driver but anyone that knowingly engages in a conversation with a driver by sending text messages to a person operating a motor vehicle.  There are many occasions when someone carrying on a text messaging conversation with a driver knows that the recipient of the text messages is operating a motor vehicle.  A pending lawsuit in New Jersey that has named the person who was texting with a driver before the driver caused a serious accident resulting in catastrophic injuries to a married couple riding a motorcycle may provide insight into whether courts are willing to take this step.

While states have imposed strict enforcement methods and tough penalties on drunk drivers, the laws prohibiting text messaging while driving are extremely lax.  Further, enforcement problems will remain an issue as long as drivers are permitted to use cell phones for other purposes.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Taking Texting and Driving to Extremes: Woman Arrested for Texting with Baby in Her Lap

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Texting while driving is never safe under any circumstances, but a woman was arrested in Southern California after taking the practice of texting and driving to ridiculous extremes.  The woman was texting as she drove on the freeway with her one year old baby in her lap.  If this does not sound bad enough, she also had a four-year-old in the back seat who was not wearing a seatbelt.  The woman was charged with child endangerment and has a history of similar past violations for not securing her child in a car seat and not wearing a seatbelt.

While this is a rather extreme case, it highlights two common but unacceptable practices, texting while driving and failure to use safety restraints that cause serious injuries and even wrongful death.   A few statistics provide some alarming facts about the dangers of texting messaging while driving:

  • Nearly forty percent of drivers admit texting while driving
  • Almost twenty percent of drivers concede they routinely text and drive
  • Teen drivers who are texting spend ten percent of their time in the wrong lane
  • Responding to a text message results in diverting one’s eyes from the road for five seconds
  • A vehicle moving at freeway speeds can travel the length of a football field in five seconds
  • Studies show that drivers engaged in text messaging have response time similar to drunk drivers

There are three types of driver distraction: visual distractions, manual distractions and mental distractions.  Text messaging poses a distraction risk at all three levels of distraction.  A visual distraction involves activities that cause a driver to avert one’s eyes from the road.  A driver who reads a text message or looks at the keyboard to compose or send a text message must avert one’s eyes from the roadway.  Even when a driver is not busy trying to hold both a baby and a cell phone, texting on a mobile phone, iPod or other portable electronic device requires physically holding the phone and manipulation of the keys.  Regardless of whether you are reading a text, sending a message or composing a message, your mind also is distracted.

The other troubling aspect of this case is that the woman had the baby in her lap rather than a child safety restraint.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a properly used child safety restraint system (i.e. car seat) reduces the child fatality rate in car accidents by more than seventy percent.  Child safety restraints prevent vehicle ejections, which are a leading cause of fatalities in car accidents.  Car seats also keep children from being thrown against the dashboard or other hard surfaces in the vehicle where they may suffer head injuries, spinal cord injuries and other catastrophic injuries.  Child safety seats also are tailored to the unique anatomy of children.  Car seats restrain a child while dispersing the force of impact to less vulnerable areas of a child’s body.

Motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for children ages 3-14 according to the National Center for Health Statistics.  Every day across the country, there are four children in this age range who die in car accidents and almost 530 more that are injured.  When parents drive the roads of Mississippi with their children in their car, they should exercise caution, pay attention, and require children to wear seatbelts and car seats.  If your child has been injured in a car accident, our experienced Mississippi car accident lawyers at Barrett Law may be able to help you obtain the compensation your child needs to promote the fastest, fullest recovery.  At the Barrett Law Offices PLLC, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.


Do Bans on Texting Messaging and Driving Actually Work?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Drivers distracted while texting on cell phones and other portable communication devices remains a serious cause of Mississippi car accidents.  Although there have been numerous proposals to prohibit texting and driving in Mississippi, all of these proposals have failed to be enacted to this point.  An important consideration in whether Mississippi should follow through on enacting a texting and driving ban is a consideration of whether such legislation has been effective in other states.

Extensive research on the subject shows that the impact of ant-texting laws is somewhat complicated.  While there is substantial evidence that anti-texting laws reduce car accident rates, there is also evidence that the deterrent impact of these laws declines over time.  AAA has conducted a series of studies that provides insight into the impact of banning texting and driving as well as potential limitations on such bans.  One study revealed that there was an initial reduction in texting and driving when California’s texting and driving ban first went into effect, but the effectiveness of the ban declined over time with the number of text messaging citations increasing annually since the ban was enacted in 2009.  There were over 500,000 texting and driving citations issued in California during 2011, which represented more than a 20 percent increase over the prior year and more than a 50 percent increase from the year the text messaging ban went into effect.

Studies conducted by AAA before the ban went into effect suggested that 1.4 percent of drivers in the state were engaged in texting while driving at any point in time.  Follow-up studies revealed that texting and driving declined by as much as seventy percent in the months immediately after enactment of the prohibition on texting messaging while driving.  However, the number of drivers that were engaged in text messaging while driving had doubled from the point of the post-ban enactment decline.  Despite evidence that the deterrent impact of texting and driving bans diminishes over time, there is also evidence that these bans do save lives and prevent serious bodily injury.  According to one state agency, the number of mobile phone related car crashes declined by 45 percent during the first two years of the state’s prohibition on texting while driving.

This data along with other statistical information about texting and driving makes clear that while a Mississippi ban on texting and driving would be a positive step the form of the ban is relevant.  One study has shown that texting while driving increases the probability of a motor vehicle collision eightfold.  However, there are certain features of existing text messaging bans in other states that may explain the mixed results.  The effectiveness of the texting ban as well as most traffic safety laws appear to be based on both the probability of being caught and the severity of the penalty.  Many text bans carry only nominal fines and have no impact on driving records.  This type of limited penalty can result in drivers conducting a mental cost-benefit analysis and determining that the insignificant penalty that accompanies a texting and driving violation is outweighed by the convenience and desire of engaging in this unsafe driving practice.

The lack of deterrent impact of many anti-texting laws is compounded by enforcement challenges.  Because smart phones, iPods and other portable communication devices may be used for a wide variety of functions, it can be very difficult to prove that a driver was using it for texting as opposed to some other function that is not banned.  The formula for enacting an effective texting and messaging ban may be to impose more significant penalties, including costly fines and points against one’s driving record as well as enacting a complete ban of all portable electronic devices while driving.  The experienced Mississippi distracted driving accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to person injury victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

NTSB Recommends Ban on All Use of Cell Phones or Portable Electronic Devices While Driving

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has wrapped up its investigation of a fatal Missouri collision last year that was caused by a 19 year old teen driver who was frantically texting in the minutes before the chain reaction collision.  The accident, which involved the teen driver in a pickup truck, a tractor-trailer and two school buses, resulted in two fatalities and injury to 38 vehicle occupants.  The investigation revealed that the teen driver had sent or received 11 texts in the minutes leading up to the fatal crash.  Based on this fatal chain reaction collision, the NTSB may now recommend that all states adopt bans on texting while driving by all drivers.

The NTSB has previously recommended a ban on text messaging by bus drivers, commercial drivers and inexperienced teen drivers.  The NTSB may make recommendations and has significant influence on federal legislators but does not itself have the power to enact binding regulations.  The NTSB has noted that while 35 states now have laws banning texting while driving, many of these bans do not apply to all drivers.  Further, the limited scope of these restrictions appears to have been ineffective because the frequency of this unsafe driving behavior has doubled during the last year despite the growing number of state laws restricting texting and driving.

The recently concluded accident investigation follows similar investigations including a California commuter rail crash a few years prior that involved a conductor who was texting when the train crashed causing the death of 25 train passengers.  A fatal marine tugboat accident in Philadelphia was caused when the captain was texting.  These incidents and the large number of motor vehicle accident victims injured and killed by text messaging while driving has led the NTSB to recommend a complete ban on texting or talking on a cell phone when operating any form of motor vehicle.

One major concern that the NTSB made about the Missouri texting ban by teen drivers is that it was not aggressively enforced.  The NTSB is recommending banning all use of cell phones or portable electronic devices by all drivers when operating a motor vehicle except in emergencies.  This proposal would apply to both hands free and handheld use of cell phones and goes far beyond any current state laws that restricts cell phone use when driving.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that twenty percent of all drivers admit to texting while driving while half of all drivers between the ages of 21-24 make the same admission.

This recommendation will make enforcing cell phone bans much easier.  There are so many uses of smart phones including web surfing, posting on social networks and watching videos which are not expressly prohibited that it can make enforcement of cell phones bans on texting or talking while driving difficult for law enforcement.  A complete ban on all uses of portable electronic devices and cell phones will make enforcing anti-cell phone bans much more workable for law enforcement.  The current limited bans that only apply to certain drivers and specific uses of cell phones have not been effective so this broader proposal is designed to prevent the mounting death toll associated with use of portable electronic devices when driving.  The experienced distracted driving accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing tenacious representation to victims of motor vehicle accidents for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Text Messaging While Driving Is More Dangerous Than Most Think

Friday, November 25th, 2011

While most drivers in Mississippi recognize that texting while driving is extremely dangerous, few people realize the true extent of the danger.  While some public safety organizations have begun referring to texting while driving as ‘the new DUI”, the practice does not yet generate the same sense of moral outrage as drunk driving.  It is somewhat hard to understand why this is the case given recent studies that suggest text messaging while driving may cause as many accidents and fatalities as driving while intoxicated.  According to a study conducted by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, drivers that text message are six times more likely to be involved in a car accident than those who are not texting.

While all cell phone use while driving creates a driving distraction and poses an increased risk of causing a car accident,  research conducted by the University of Utah suggest that text messaging while driving poses an especially dangerous driving hazard.  The researchers have conducted a series of studies designed to evaluate the impact of text messaging on driving and car accident rates. The researchers found that driver’s that texted while performing in a driving simulator were involved in more collisions, displayed slower braking times  when responding to brake lights and exhibited impaired lateral and forward motion in the vehicle simulator.

The researchers also concluded that the difference between driving impairment when texting as opposed to talking on a cell phone is linked to the difference in the way drivers process information. When drivers talk on the telephone they split their attention between both talking and driving and shift the priority of their attention between the activities. Texting drivers are not able to divide their attention so when they are texting their entire attention is focused on reading, writing or sending text messages as opposed dividing their attention between the task of driving and talking on a cell phone.  The study found that the reaction time for drivers when braking decreased thirty percent when drivers were texting while decreasing only nine percent when talking on a cell phone.

While Mississippi has banned text messaging in limited situations, such as use by bus drivers when transporting school kids, state legislators have failed to pass bills that would prohibit cell phone use by all drivers and even rejected a provision that would have prohibited texting in a school zone.  This is surprising given that prior studies conducted by the University of Utah have indicated that drivers who are engaged in text messaging exhibit more signs of impairment while driving than driver with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, which is the threshold at which a driver is considered legally intoxicated.  It is inconceivable that Mississippi parents would condone an exception to DUI laws in school zones or general authorization to drive while intoxicated.

While public awareness is growing regarding the extent of the dangers associated with texting and driving, the practice still is not condemned like driving under the influence of alcohol.  It is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that almost 5,500 people per year are killed and another 450,000 people are injured in distracted driving collisions.  If you or your loved one has been injured in a Mississippi motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver who is texting rather than concentrating on his or her driving, our experienced Mississippi distracted driver attorneys represent our clients with diligence and compassion.  We invite you to contact Barrett Law so that we can evaluate your Mississippi car accident claim and advise you of your rights and options.  Call us at 662-834-2376.

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