Sometimes, the bad decisions people make only end up impacting themselves. Other times, bad decisions can result in serious injury to other people. Choosing to drive distracted is one such mistake.
When someone operates a motor vehicle without full focus on the task at hand, they increase their risk of causing a major crash. That puts anyone who crosses their path in unnecessary danger as well. In order to combat this risk, many states, including California, have made manually texting while driving illegal.
However, much like with drunk driving, simply banning the activity has not stopped people from engaging in it. Instead, it has prompted people to hide evidence of their distracted driving.
People who text while driving may delete incriminating messages
For many people, the first impulse after making a mistake that could land them in trouble is to hide any potential evidence. In cases of drunk or drugged driving, this behavior could look like throwing bottles of alcohol or baggies of illegal drugs far away from a vehicle after a crash. In a situation where a driver caused an accident while texting or using a phone behind the wheel, deleting the digital record of the text message or other activity may be their first move.
Thankfully, law enforcement does not depend on someone remaining transparent and honest when it comes to what information they retain in their mobile phone. After a crash where you believe distraction played a role, you should immediately alert law enforcement to that concern. They can then contact the cellphone provider of the other driver to obtain more accurate records.
Even deleted messages will still show up in the internal records of the relevant cellphone carrier. Additionally, eyewitnesses or traffic cameras may have noted the driver with a phone in their hands prior to or immediately after the crash.
Distracted drivers are dangerous, negligent drivers
Choosing not to focus on the road puts everyone else at risk of a serious crash. Drivers who willfully endanger other people on the road incur substantial liability. They may face legal consequences for that decision, including fines and criminal charges.
In the event of a crash caused by someone texting at the wheel, you may have the option to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against that driver. If that neglect led to the death of someone in your family, you may also have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
These lawsuits can not only hold the other driver accountable, but they can help you overcome the financial obstacles a serious collision creates. You should not have to bear the burden when someone else makes the road unsafe for you and your family. Pursuing civil action against a distracted driver is a good way to hold that individual accountable for the damages they caused.