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Distracted driving remains a problem in Rhode Island

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

We’ve all seen distracted drivers on Rhode Island’s busy roads and highways. They are usually easy to spot, as they are drifting over into other lanes, randomly slowing down or speeding up or making sudden stops.

By now, we should also all know how dangerous distracted driving is. You might assume that distracted driving means using your cell phone while driving, but it is much more than that.

Rhode Island’s distracted driving laws

Rhode Island, like many states, defines distracted driving as any activity that takes your attention away from driving, which should be your primary focus. When it comes to your phone, the law prohibits you from using it unless you are using it in hands-free mode.

Additionally, it is illegal for minors to use their phone while driving at all, hands-free mode or not.

Although distracted driving does include using your phone, there are many other activities that count as distracted driving, some that you may have never considered. Distracted driving includes using a navigation system, adjusting music, eating, drinking and talking to others in your vehicle.

The dangers of texting

Texting is one of the biggest forms of distracted driving, especially among younger drivers. You may think that quickly reading or sending a text cannot possibly be that major of a distraction, but it is. It is estimated that you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident when you text while driving.

Statistics over the past few years show that distracted driving remains a problem, not only in Rhode Island, but throughout the country. Distracted driving was responsible for over 2,800 deaths in 2018 and approximately 400,000 injuries.

How to stay off your phone when driving

There are some things you can do to prevent yourself from texting while driving. Some of these may seem extreme, but they can help; you be a safer driver.

Put your phone away completely when driving. If you must send or read a text, pull over and stop your car before doing so. When someone else is with you, give your phone to them and let them handle texting or anything else you need to do on your phone.

If you know that the temptation to use your phone is too great, put it in a place that you cannot get it while driving, such as your trunk.

Helping you after a distracted driving accident

No matter how safe a driver you are, you could find yourself the victim of a distracted driving accident. The consequences are often enough to permanently affect your life.

High medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering are just some of the things you may experience as a car accident victim. If you decide to pursue compensation through a personal injury action, you must prove negligence.

Distracted driving is negligent driving, but proving negligence is complicated. You must show that the other driver failed in their legal duty to drive safely, and that failure caused your accident.

You must also prove your damages. This can be done through medical bills, wage statements or other documents. Trying to do this while healing from your injuries is difficult, but there are people who can help.