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Texting and driving: a deadly combination

Montana residents are likely to have seen at least one driver use a cellphone irresponsibly. While texting may seem benign, statistics have proven that driving while distracted is very often injurious and even deadly. Forty percent of teenagers in America said that they had been in a vehicle when a driver placed others in danger by using a cellphone, according to one study. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 2010, distracted driving, which includes texting, caused 18 percent of all fatal crashes and crashes that caused injury.

Possibly contributing to the problem of distracted driving is the lack of a cohesive national policy regarding the use of these devices. Some areas ban texting and driving, and some ban talking on handheld phones while behind the wheel, but laws vary by state.

Texting while driving is especially common with young adults. Statistics show that 11 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who were involved in car accidents and survived admitted to texting at the time of impact. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute noted that texting while driving exacerbates the existing risk of car accidents by 23 times.

When a person is injured by a distracted driver, it may be beneficial for the individual to consult with a lawyer. If the injured party believes that the offending driver was texting behind the wheel while traveling in an area that bans such actions, the lawyer may subpoena the driver's phone records to uncover evidence of distracted driving. Even if there is no state law explicitly banning texting while driving, a driver could still be held accountable for a crash if he or she was driving while distracted.

Source: fcc.gov, "The Dangers of Texting While Driving", September 12, 2014

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