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Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
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$1.75 Million Awarded for Auto Accident Due to Cell Phone

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After almost 2 years, 26 year-old Ms. Tiffany Barrett will finally receive justice for the injuries she received due to a car crash. Just two months before they were set for trial, Ms. Barrett’s attorney annouced that a settlement had been reached in the case against Philip DeBeard, who was a salesman for Rick Starr Lincolm Mercury and was on his cell phone at the time of the accident.

Ms. Barrett was stuck by the truck driven by Mr. DeBeard after he made a left turn in front of three lanes oncoming traffic. A truck to Ms. Barrett’s left hit the brakes to avoid a collision, but it blocked Ms. Barrett’s view so she had no time to react. As a result of the crash, the 26 year-old mother of three has had numerous surgeries and continues to walk with a cane. It was the plaintiff’s opinion that if the driver of the truck had not been on his cell phone, the accident never would have happened.

Cell phones have become a part of our very existence and we all use them when we probably shouldn’t be. If you’re sitting at a light, I’ll bet that at least 50% of the drivers passing in front of you are on their cell phones. Last week I followed someone talking on his cell while driving a Honda stick shift . If one hand is holding the phone, and he needs the other to change gears, who’s holding the steering wheel?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s most recent report has shown you are four times more likely to have an accident if you are on a cell phone. Age was not a factor and it didn’t matter if it was hand-held or hands-free.

Common sense as well as experience tell us that handling and dialing cell phones while driving compromise safety, and evidence is accumulating that phone conversations also increase crash risk. New Institute research quantifies the added risk — drivers using phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. The increased risk was estimated by comparing phone use within 10 minutes before an actual crash occurred with use by the same driver during the prior week.

Should cell phone use be banned while driving? I don’t know. It’s something we would all hate to give up, but would it save lives?

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.