The dangers of texting and driving were in the spotlight recently after an accident involving Bruce Jenner, former Olympian turned reality TV show dad, who is now purported to be in the process of transitioning from male to female. Jenner was driving on the Pacific Coast Highway when a Prius ahead of him was stopped or slowed down on the road. A Lexus sedan rear-ended the Prius, and the vehicle Bruce Jenner was driving, a Cadillac Escalade, rear-ended the Lexus.
The Lexus was pushed into oncoming traffic, into the path of a Hummer. The driver of the Lexus died at the scene. Initial reports of the accident were conflicting. Some said that paparazzi were following Jenner and could have caused the accident. However, later reports showed that although paparazzi were following him, it did not appear that Jenner was trying to outrun them.
Other initial reports indicated that Jenner was holding a cell phone in his hand and may have been texting and driving. Investigators have indicated that they will ask Jenner to sign a form to release his cell phone records to authorities, which would indicate whether or not he was texting. His publicist indicated that he was not texting, and that he would provide the cell phone records when asked. Pictures from paparazzi show that Jenner was probably holding a cigarette in his hand at the time of the accident, not a cell phone.
Whether or not Jenner was texting at the time of the accident is critical. Under California law, texting while driving is illegal. If Jenner was texting at the time of the accident, he could face criminal charges for the woman’s death. In addition, if he was texting at the time of the accident, he was clearly behaving negligently, and could face a civil lawsuit for his actions which caused the accident.
Although this accident may not have involved texting and driving, there are thousands of accidents in the U.S. every day that are directly related to cell phone use. It has been estimated that in 2011, at least 23 percent of car wrecks involved cell phones, which amounts to 1.3 million crashes. Texting causes drivers to take their attention from the road for a minimum of five seconds, which is equivalent to driving the length of a football field without looking at the road, if you are driving at 55 miles per hour. Scientists have shown that text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely to occur than if you weren’t texting. It can be especially difficult for teenagers to resist the temptation to text. Many teens say it’s easy to text while driving, but studies have shown otherwise. Many of those teens have grown up seeing their parents text or talk on a cell phone while driving, so they believe it’s not dangerous.
However, it is dangerous. Driving and texting can result in serious accidents, causing death, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, cuts, damage to internal organs, and more. Victims of accidents caused when another party texts while driving have legal rights. They can sue for the damages related to the accident, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Family members of the accident victim may have legal rights as well.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that no one should text while driving. Not only is it illegal in California, but also it’s extremely dangerous. If you have been the victim of another person’s texting and driving, it’s time to call a personal injury attorney who can stand up for your legal rights. Call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco automobile accident attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She will provide you with a free consultation on your case.