The Arkansas State Police announced that they are collecting data on traffic accidents related to text messaging to determine how much of a problem the practice is in Arkansas. The standard accident reports now have a new information box for troopers to fill out while investigating a crash. When filled, it denotes the use of an electronic device such as a cell phone while driving.
According to Hillary Davidson of Jonesboro, whose father died in a traffic accident, she wants state lawmakers to pass a law that specifically prohibits text messaging while a driver is behind the wheel. She plans to meet with state legislators to ask them to sponsor a bill. Davidson’s father, Paul Davidson, died July 14th after his vehicle was hit by another vehicle, driven by a man who told police he was sending a text message. Further, this behavior has gained national attention due to the September 25th Metrolink train crash in California. The crash occurred immediately after the engineer sent a text message.
Although cell phone use and text messaging while driving may not be against the law, their use can be the basis of a negligence action if they cause a car accident in Arkansas. I have successfully argued that a driver was negligent because he was using his cell phone when he did not “see” my client before a car accident. He tried to argue that my client was partially at fault but we were able to show that he was using his cell phone at the time of the wreck and was not paying attention. It is important to gather this information in the discovery phase of a claim or lawsuit. Cell phone records can be subpoenaed from the phone company. This is an important tool that can make the difference in a car accident claim. If you have suffered an injury due to a car accident, please contact me to discuss your rights and determine what information is needed to make a fair recovery for you and your family.