A Legal Perspective on Texting While Driving

Texting while driving becomes a very significant factor in New York when there is a car accident and especially one that causes serious injury or death.

An injury falling under the New York serious injury threshold provides a legal basis to sue an at-fault driver to recover compensation for damages. Insurance law also classifies death as a serious injury. Therefore, a surviving family member has the right to sue an at-fault party for damages related to losing a loved one in a car accident.

How Does Texting While Driving Relate to the Percentage of Fault?

When a New York court determines negligence in a car accident case, the judge assigns both the plaintiff and defendant a percentage of fault for causing the accident.

First of all, texting while driving is against the law in New York State. In New York, illegal activities with a hand-held mobile phone or portable electronic device being used while driving include:

  • Talking on a handheld cell phone
  • Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving electronic data such as email, text messages or web pages
  • Viewing, taking or transmitting images
  • Playing games

If the lawyer can prove the defendant was texting while driving, the court will weigh this factor when calculating fault.

Consider How the Following Statistics Point to Fault in an Accident

  • Texting while driving is a form of distracting driving.
  • NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) considers texting while driving the most alarming form of distracted driving.
  • Distracted driving accounts for an estimated 25% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities.
  • Sending or reading a text takes the driver’s attention off the road for five seconds. When driving at 55 mph, this is the entire length of a football field with no attention on the road.

Our attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP have handled many car accident cases over the years and have successfully recovered compensation for our clients.