JUGGLING PHONES BEHIND THE WHEEL
We know better. We know that distracted driving is the number one killer on our roads. One phone in the hands of a driver can cause terrible suffering and pain for the innocent on our highways. Two phones in the hands of a driver is madness.
But that's exactly what experienced injury lawyers are seeing. Every time I go to an examination for discovery and examine the at fault driver who hit my injured client, I now have a 50-50 chance of finding out that driver had not one but two phones in that car.
Why Two Phones?
Because that driver had one work phone and one personal phone. Employers, usually always government but sometimes private businesses, give employees smart phones so they can be reached when ever and where ever they may be. Usually private calls and texts are forbidden on that work phone. So the employee carries around both his work phone and his personal phone. And if that employee is driving a work or fleet car, then he likely won't also pair his personal phone to that car for fear of being caught out making personal calls or texts on company time. Before we ever get to that discovery, we know when an employer is involved. If the employer business or government owns the at fault car and is the named insured for that car, that employer is already a named defendant in my lawsuit. Often I have already collected enough evidence to know that the government department or private employer is also to blame for the crash. The circle of liability, or who is responsible for that car crash and my client's injuries, has widened.
As well as after crash photos taken of the interior of the at fault vehicle by the insurance company's investigator, usually as part of the motor vehicle loss report for appraisal, repair or salvage, cell phone records tell the tale. While it's a gift to find a photo showing a phone or two somewhere in that car, or charging cords, a portable charger, power bank, or car charger adapter on the seat or floor or in the driver's seat caddy, phones are usually pocketed by the at fault driver before the police and ambulance arrive. But the data in cell phone records can't be hidden. Although some cell phone companies only allow retrieval of records for a limited amount of time so requests for those records must be made in a timely manner to the defence.
The Bottom Line
It is against the law to text, talk, email or change your playlist on your phone or device while behind the wheel. Ontario has distracted driving laws in place and handheld cell phone legislation is a part of that law.
When innocent drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are struck and injured in a car crash because another driver phoned or texted behind the wheel, distracted driving becomes careless driving pretty darn quick.
If you've been seriously injured because another driver was texting or talking on his phone, you should talk to an experienced injury lawyer and ask if she offers a free consultation. And if you find out that the at fault driver who hit you was working or driving to and from work, then definitely let that injury lawyer know so she can quickly take steps to find and preserve the evidence you need to successfully resolve your case.
Innocent victims of distracted drivers should never accept that distracted driving just happens. It doesn't just happen. At fault drivers make conscious decisions to drive distracted. When they have two phones behind the wheel, they have clearly made the selfish decision to put both their work and personal life ahead of your safety. That's not acceptable in any community or on any road that we share.
If you have been seriously injured by a distracted driver, call your experienced community injury lawyer. Find out where you stand.
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