Cellphone accidents occur when drivers use their mobile devices while driving, resulting in distraction and an increased risk of a crash. Numerous states, cities, and countries have implemented laws and regulations banning or restricting the use of mobile devices while driving.
In today's day and age, our technology is constantly at our fingertips. Keeping a phone at our side, ready to grab at a moment's notice, is practically ingrained in our DNA at this point. Barely a text message pops onto our phones that we don't read within a split second. We don't see a text message until our phone buzzes, beeps, or makes itself known in some other way. Therefore, why wouldn't we expect the same thing from a text message from behind the wheel? To our dismay, most of us underestimate the dangers of distracted driving and, in fact, overestimate our abilities to drive while texting.
While the penalties for distracted driving vary from state to state, many states have a firm stance on this dangerous practice and have made it illegal to even use your phone while driving.
Recently, many states have passed laws banning mobile devices while driving, usually with limited exceptionsprimarily for emergency use. Drivers violating these laws can be pulled over and given a ticket, and fines can range from $35 to $150, depending on the offense.
As texting bans sweep across the nation, many fear a crackdownpotentially even criminal penaltieswill follow. Ten states and Washington DC already have texting-while-driving laws on the books, but they vary considerably regarding how you can and cannot text while driving.
Aside from state laws, some jurisdictions (especially county or city governments) may allow local governments to pass laws prohibiting mobile device use while driving. Therefore, while using a cell phone without a hands-free device may be legal elsewhere in the state, within certain counties or cities, it cannot. Make sure to talk to local law enforcement to know for sure. Other states, like Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma, have laws against using mobile devices while driving.
Other prohibited practices
If you are in a jurisdiction that restricts the use of mobile devices, then it is essential to remind yourself to exercise care when driving. Laws dealing with calling and texting while driving are fundamental, but other practices are likely prohibited. Some may be expressly banned by statute, case law, or as a reasonable extension of the law. For example, playing a video game, watching a video, or composing an e-mail are likely all banned activities, as well, in jurisdictions that have restrictions on the use of mobile devices, even if not expressly outlined in the statute.
Two factors determine whether a driver is at fault: If they broke a traffic law or if they were negligent due to other factors, such as using a phone while driving.
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