Methuen Distracted Driving Crash Attorney
Across the U.S. in 2015, 3,477 people were killed and almost 400,000 injured in collisions associated with distracted driving. Overall, there was a 9% spike in vehicle accident fatalities over 2014. This represents a significant rise over the past several years, and vehicle safety analysts attribute the trend largely to distracted driving. The Massachusetts Highway Safety Division (HSD) launched a "Drive Present" campaign to heighten awareness concerning the dangers of distracted driving, especially mobile phone use. HSD’s approach is focused on educational efforts and greater enforcement.
Until everyone puts down those cell phones and pays attention to the road, there will be distracted driving collisions. If you need legal help after a distracted driving crash, don’t try to navigate these tricky waters alone. Speak to a Methuen car accident attorney at DiBella Law Offices, P.C.
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The problem of distracted driving is not limited to collisions involving vehicles. Pedestrian-related fatalities have risen considerably. The Boston Globe reported approximately 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2016, a 10% increase from the prior year and 30% higher than 2009. This increase is largely due to both driver (and walker) use of mobile devices.
Beginning in 2010, the state began legislative efforts to combat this problem. These laws targeted mobile electronic device use while driving, which includes any portable electronic devices with the capability of transmitting information between two or more people. Presently, there is a:
- Junior operator ban: The initial ban on mobile devices was for "junior operators," those under the age of 18. With the exception of calling for emergencies, violators can face a $100 fine and 60-day license suspension, which rises to $250 and a suspension of 180 days for a second offence.
- Public transportation operator ban: Those who operate (drive) a public transportation vehicle are not allowed to use mobile devices while driving. Violations are subject to a $500 fine.
- Improper use of a mobile device by adults: At least one hand must remain on the steering wheel and the device use must not interfere with vehicle operation. Violators are subject to a $35 fine and $75 for second offense.
- Text messaging: Creating, sending, or reading electronic messages and all Internet browsing are prohibited. This ban applies even when traffic is slowed. Violators are subject to a $100 fine which rises to $250 for second-time offenders.
- Injury from negligent mobile device usage: If a driver hits someone while using a cell phone, causing injury, the violator is criminally charged. A first-time offender is subject to a 180-day license suspension.
Nationwide, we are witnessing more states and municipalities increasing their penalties and enforcement efforts, and Massachusetts will likely follow suit. One new trend is in laws regarding "driving under the influence of electronics."
Washington State implemented a law where a vehicle operator may be cited for having a mobile device near his head or even on his lap. This is an E-DUI provision that carries a $100 fine for first-time offenders (and a likely increase in the driver’s auto insurance premium). Some form or variety of this law is now in force in about 14 states.
The Massachusetts state legislature is actively working on a bill (S2092) that will actually prohibit all mobile device use while driving.
Distracted driving in Boston and throughout the state is a widespread problem. Although violators will be potentially penalized and those who cause accidents face civil liability, it is still a difficult offense to prove. If a driver causes a wreck while distracted by a mobile device, he or she will be hesitant to reveal it. Law enforcement faces difficulty in identifying people who are discreetly using their devices, which, most of the time, is hard to actually see.
If you have been seriously injured by the negligent actions of another driver, you deserve a Burlington personal injury lawyer who is serious about pursuing economic compensation. The lawyers with DiBella Law Offices, P.C., have been advocating for accident victims in Methuen, Burlington, Andover and Boston for many years. For a free initial consultation, contact the office today at (781) 262-3338.
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