Did you know the number one cause of car accidents isn’t drunk driving, speeding, or inclement weather? Our modern society and our constant need to be connected to our mobile devices have paved the way for the new leading travel danger: distracted driving.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were left injured as a result of distracted driving in 2015 alone.
Distracted driving encompasses engaging in any activity that diverts your attention away from your surroundings behind the wheel. This may involve talking to a passenger, eating or drinking, using a GPS, looking in the mirror, or playing with stereo controls. Considered to be the most alarming distraction, however, is the act of texting and driving. This is due in part to the increasing prevalence of texting and driving taking place, but also that the nature of sending or reading a text message takes an average of five seconds. Spending five seconds immersed in an activity other than driving a 4,000-pound vehicle can often have fatal consequences.
47 states have now banned text messaging for all drivers, and Rhode Island is one of them. So what do you need to know?
Rhode Island’s Laws
While certain states have placed distracted driving restrictions specifically for bus drivers and drivers under 18, updates from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety maintain that Rhode Island legislation bans texting for all drivers. In addition, the state has slated a handheld device ban to be put into effect June 2018. Not in Rhode Island? Find your state’s texting and driving status here.
Even if texting and driving did not result in a car accident, Rhode Island officials are issuing fines for the act. A first-time offense will result in a fine of $100 and/or a 30-day license suspension, with escalating repercussions for subsequent offenses.
If you are injured by someone who was texting and driving in Rhode Island, that driver is liable. Contact Travis J. DeCosta, Esq to file a claim for your personal injury and damages. Experienced in distracted driving claims, Attorney DeCosta can assess your circumstances and help you achieve compensation.
Cell phone records, photo or video evidence, eyewitness account, and police reports may help to indicate that texting and driving took place.
Last year’s Traffic Safety Facts report by NHTSA outlines nationwide occurrences of distracted driving.