One of the most common uses for smartphones is texting. On average, Americans send text messages twice as often as they make phone calls. While texting anywhere and at any time has been completely normalized, this daily habit becomes dangerous when done behind the wheel. As texting continues to dominate distracted driving issues, state lawmakers strive to design laws to protect citizens and punish offenders. If you’ve been seriously injured by a distracted driver who couldn’t wait to text, contact our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers without delay.
Wisconsin Texting and Driving Laws
Forty-seven states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virginia Islands all currently have laws that ban texting while driving. As part of this group, Wisconsin has enacted laws that prohibit drivers from composing or sending any type of electronic message while driving.
Notably, the law does not apply to individuals who operate emergency vehicles or use voice-activated devices. The law also includes exceptions for licensed amateur radio operators, and it permits the use of navigational devices while driving.
In 2017, lawmakers expanded Wisconsin’s inattentive driving laws to also prohibit the use of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and similar applications while driving. In an attempt to discourage distracted driving, the new laws increased the associated fines as well.
Distracted driving is perhaps one of the most underreported traffic safety issues in the country. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it’s often difficult to prove driver distraction following an accident, which leads to underreporting.
If you’re involved in an accident, and you suspect that the other driver was texting or otherwise distracted and caused the crash, tell law enforcement when they arrive. Take pictures of the accident scene, and gather contact information for witnesses. If you are medically unable to do so, ask a passenger or bystander to help. After seeking medical treatment, you should contact Groth Law Firm, S.C. to discuss your case and your potential to seek compensation for your injuries.
Common Injuries from Serious Car Crashes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sending or reading a text message while traveling at 55 mph takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
The forceful impact of another vehicle striking you can cause serious injury and even death. Whether you are walking, riding a bike, or in your own personal vehicle, if you’re struck by a distracted driver you may sustain the following injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
Patients with these and other similar injuries often face a variety of expensive and long-term medical needs, including:
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Personal in-home care or private home care, like at a nursing home
- Immediate and future surgeries
- Multiple monthly medications
- Home modifications
- Medical equipment or assistive devices
It may only take five seconds to send a text message while driving, but the results of that short time can result in a lifetime of suffering for another driver.
Texting and Driving Statistics
Americans of all ages are so dependent upon their smartphones for communication, entertainment, and information that many view it as an addiction. There is even a term for it: nomophobia, which is the fear of being without a mobile phone.
Experts believe that when we receive a text message, we feel happiness. The compulsive habit of checking our phones makes us feel connected and more productive, according to experts. The need for feeding this habit while driving, however, often results in tragedy. Consider the following alarming statistics:
- More than 3,000 teens die each year in crashes that involve texting and driving.
- Mobile phones are involved in an estimated 1.6 million auto crashes each year; on average, these accidents cause half a million injuries and result in 6,000 deaths.
- Research shows that using a cellphone while driving delays a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08, the legal limit. This data applies to both hand-held and hands-free cellphone use.
- 48 percent of teens report having seen their parents text while driving, which increases the teens’ likelihood of engaging in similar behaviors.
Additional research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88 percent of drivers surveyed believe that distracted driving is on the rise. Another AAA study found that drivers talking on a cellphone are four times more likely to crash, and drivers texting behind the wheel are eight times more likely, compared to those that refrain from cell phone use while driving. Despite all of the research, public safety campaigns, and tougher laws meant to discourage reckless driving, drivers continue to take unnecessary risks.
Call the Groth Law Firm, S.C., When a Distracted Driver Hurts You
No matter how defensively you drive, the negligent behavior of another driver can greatly damage your life or even cause wrongful death. While you can’t change or predict the reckless behavior of others, you can pursue justice if you’ve been involved in an accident.
At Groth Law Firm, S.C., our experienced personal injury attorneys have represented individuals injured in car accidents throughout Wisconsin. Distracted driving can cause serious injuries. Depending upon the force of the impact and the circumstances of the crash, an injured individual may face a long road to recovery. No one should suffer financially, physically, or emotionally due to the actions of a distracted driver. Each case is different, and every case depends upon the facts involved; however, if you’ve been involved in an accident, you should inquire about your eligibility to recover compensation for your injuries.
Insurance companies often offer low-dollar initial settlement amounts in an effort to quickly close a claim. Suffering serious injuries from a crash requires rest; let our experienced legal team handle aggressive insurance agents while you focus on your recovery. We don’t settle until we secure fair compensation for our clients, and if we are unable to settle, we are not afraid to take your case to trial.
To schedule a free consultation and evaluation of your case, call Groth Law Firm, S.C. at (414) 240-0707, or contact us online. We are proud to represent clients in the Wauwatosa and Milwaukee region, and throughout all of Wisconsin. Don’t settle for less than the full cost of your injuries. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.