The recent Metrolink commuter train crash in California raised the awareness level of most people when it comes to using electronic equipment while driving. It has been reported that the train engineer who failed to see a red light, was texting with a teen minutes before the fatal crash. Unfortunately, driving while texting has reached a point where your safety is at risk. First, it should go without saying that it is irresponsible to attempt to engage in a text conversation or communication while operating a motor vehicle. But now, all of us need to be aware that many drivers on the roadway do engage in such risky behavior. A study in the United Kingdom found that driving while texting impairs response and reaction time more than marijuana or alcohol! Visit the RAC Foundation site to view the full study results showing how texting impairs driving.
What does this mean for those of us driving on San Antonio streets? Unfortunately, it means if you are ever in a car wreck caused by someone else’s negligence, you may need to subpoena their cell phone records to establish whether they were engaged in a conversation, or worse, texting at the time they hit you. According to the study referenced above, texting impaired the reaction time of 17-24 year old drivers in a simulator by 35%! As a comparison, the reaction time was slowed by 21% after inhaling marijuana and 12% slower after consuming alcohol to the legal limit. The same study found that almost 50% of drivers age 18-24 texted while driving.
Police officers investigating a wreck typically ask, or make their own determination based on an investigation of the circumstances, whether one or more of the drivers involved in a vehicle crash have consumed alcohol or drugs. Now, if the police don’t start asking, in cases where fault is disputed or there does not seem to be an otherwise clear explanation, your attorney may need to consider inquiring and issuing a subpoena for these important cell phone records to determine just what may have been distracting the driver that hit you.