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Ed Normand
Ed Normand
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Driving While Distracted, The New DWI?

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It appears that the recent tragic commuter train crash in Los Angeles may have been the result of inattention by the train operator to the operation of the train because he was too busy texting to pay attention to his job. The result was 125 injuries and 25 deaths.

We all know of or have seen drivers texting or checking email while at the wheel. Surprisingly, texting while driving is only against the law in 5 states (no Florida is not one of them). What is scary is the sheer number of drivers that text. In a recent study of distracted driving almost 50% of drivers in the 18-24 age group admitted sending a text or email message while driving. Think about that, that is the age group with the highest accident rates even before texting became a driving problem.

I am not aware of any data showing the percentage of car accidents involving distracted drivers but my guess is a lot. In my practice a standard procedure in auto accident litigation cases is to find out about cell phone usage at the time of the crash. Cell phone data can be obtained to determine not only the time, but the location of the call or text. That can then be compared to the time and place of the car crash providing good evidence of driver distraction during the crash.