Texting while driving and other forms of phone-based distractions have become a serious issue in Phoenix and across the rest of the nation. To combat the dangers posed by cell phones, many cities and states have passed legislation restricting or banning their use by drivers. Other areas have launched public awareness campaigns and many areas are beginning to address the issue with teenagers going through driver’s education training.
In the past decade, some Arizona state officials have tried to introduce new legislation that would institute state-wide restrictions on hand-held phone use as well as a ban on texting while driving, all with the hope of decreasing the number of distracted driving car accidents in the state. The measure has failed to take hold thus far with some believing that the state’s current laws give a broader definition to distracted and dangerous diving and enable police officers to enforce the laws. Those who currently text behind the wheel may be guilty of a traffic offense and may be cited for their actions. If cell phone use causes an accident, the potential punishment may be more severe.
But some counties do not feel the current state of the law is descriptive enough or limiting enough to clearly state which behaviors are banned. Coconino County officials passed a new ordinance on Tuesday night significantly limiting the legal use of a cell phone by drivers in that area. Once the ordinance takes effect on May 22, drivers will be prohibited from texting while driving and also from making calls with a hand-held device. Calls with a hands-free device will remain legal and exceptions will apply in the case of an emergency. A driver will be authorized to call the police department, emergency services, an ambulance, hospital, or a doctor’s office even if a hands-free device is not available.
The believe in Coconino is that reducing the ability of drivers to operate a car, truck, or van while on distracted will lead to a decrease in the number of distracted driving accidents that occur annually. This in turn will decrease the amount of financial damages caused by these accidents including property damage to vehicles, personal injuries sustained by victims, and time missed from work by those who are injured in these crashes.
It is likely that some drivers will continue to use their phones in an unsafe manner behind the wheel or will be distracted by other things within or outside of their car. If one of these drivers causes an accident that leaves you injured, know that you have legal rights that may entitle you to relief.
A civil claim against an at-fault driver can be brought to help you recover for damages including medical bills and other expenses that stem from the collision. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. are ready to help you understand the implications of your crash and what options may be available to you. We offer a free case consultation without any obligation to all those who have become victims in a car accident and we are standing by 24 hours a day to take your call toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191. If you have been hurt, do not let yourself continue to suffer in silence. Call us today and let us help you get the relief you deserve.
Prior Blog Entry:
Speed a Suspected Factor in Phoenix Rollover Accident, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 22, 2014.
Ariz. county restricts cellphone use while driving, Fox 10 Phoenix, published April 25, 2014.