Using Cell Phone Data to Prove Distracted Driving
Tennis star Venus Williams was involved in a car accident last year that fatally injured the other driver’s husband. That woman’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams, claiming that her negligence caused the accident. Specifically, they claim she was distracted by her cell phone when the crash happened.
A judge recently ruled that the family can have access to Williams’ cell phone data from the time of the crash and about five minutes before. This could help establish whether Williams was distracted by her phone. An expert will download the data and summarize what’s on it.
Litigants often request access to phone records in distracted driving cases, maybe by subpoenaing the service provider. But texting and call logs don’t always tell the full story. The only way to tell if someone was on the Internet or using an app is to examine the actual device. That’s what they’re doing in Williams’ case.
Williams was not charged with a crime. According to police, she lawfully entered the intersection. But in Florida, wrongful death and personal injury plaintiffs can file a civil lawsuit whether or not the defendant is facing criminal charges.
How Big of a Problem is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a major problem in Florida. Texting while driving is illegal, but state law makes it a secondary offense, which means police can’t pull drivers over for texting. Drivers can only be cited for texting if they’re pulled over for a primary offense like speeding or running a red light.
Unfortunately, the number of car accidents in the Sunshine State increased by 11 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to an analysis by the “South Florida Sun Sentinel.” In fact, the analysis found that careless driving — often caused by texting and other distractions — increased by an even larger percentage:
- Accidents caused by failing to stay in the correct lane increased by 50 percent;
- Accidents caused by running a stop sign increased by 48 percent;
- Accidents caused by sideswiping a car traveling in the same direction increased by 40 percent; and
- Accidents caused by ignoring road signs increased by 34 percent.
What Is Distracted Driving?
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or mind off driving.” Distracted driving behaviors include:
- Talking on a handheld cell phone;
- Interacting with passengers (like dealing with children fighting in the backseat);
- Putting on makeup or other grooming activities;
- Looking for a radio station or adjusting the temperature;
- Dealing with unsecured pets; and
- Checking your GPS device or app for directions.
Contact Us Today
Contact th Orlando automobile injury lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you are injured or a loved one is killed by a distracted driver. We will help recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.