Statistics tell us that the vast majority of drivers on America’s roadways use a cell phone while driving on a regular basis. At any given time of the day, on any given roadway in America there are thousands of drivers using a cell phone. Despite laws in over 20 states prohibiting the use of handheld devices, people continue to use them. According to Santa Barbara personal injury attorney Emery Ledger of Ledger & Associates, using your cell phone while driving may make you a negligent driver.
Negligence is a legal term used to mean fault or blame. In order to be found negligent, four elements must be met: duty of care; breach of duty; causation; and damages, says Santa Barbara personal injury attorney Emery Ledger. The first element, duty of care, has been argued over and debated for decades, if not centuries. It can mean different things in different types of cases. In essence, you must show that the person that caused the harm had a duty to protect the person that suffered the harm. In car accident cases, the courts long ago decided that once you decide to operate a vehicle on a public roadway, you owe a duty of care to all the other drivers and passengers on the roadway. This makes sense if you think about it. A vehicle is basically a two ton weapon and you should use care when operating it. So the bottom line is that any time you choose to operate a vehicle, you owe a duty of care to anyone that you encounter on the roadway.
So how does using a cell phone while driving breach that duty of care? The law expects you to use all reasonable care when operating your vehicle. Reasonable care includes paying attention to the roadway. If you are using a cell phone while driving, then your cell phone is causing a distraction which means you are not giving your complete attention to the road. As soon as you have allowed something to distract you from the roadway, then you may have breached your duty of care. Again, this makes sense. In the time it takes to dial a number or answer a cell phone call, an accident can happen. Studies tell us that we only have about two seconds to recognize and respond to a potential accident. If, in those two seconds, you are dialing a number or answering a call, then you have missed your opportunity to avoid the accident. That can, and often does, lead to a breach of your duty of care and consequently a collision, according to Santa Barbara personal injury attorney Emery Ledger.
Once you have breached your duty of care and caused an accident, the only element left is damages. If someone else suffered injuries as a result of the accident, then you may be responsible for their injuries. As you can see, using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle is not just dangerous but negligent as well.
If you have been the victim in an accident and believe that the other driver may have been negligent, then seek the advice of a Santa Barbara personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries that you have suffered. Santa Barbara personal injury attorney Emery Ledger can be reached at 1-800-300-0001 or online at www.ldegerlaw.com