Cell Phones and Car Accidents

It is indisputable that cell phone usage while driving causes a driver to be less attentive to the road than if they were not using a cell phone.  Because cellular telephone usage makes a driver less attentive, it increases the likelihood of an accident.  We all have a duty to other drivers to exercise ordinary care while driving to avoid causing an accident.  By talking on the phone and driving at the same time, a driver is distracted from giving full attention to the road and therefore fails to abide by his or her duty to exercise ordinary care and may be found responsible for an accident.


If you were using a cell phone at the time of an accident, this can be very easy to prove.  To begin with, depending on your condition after the accident, a police officer may pick up your cell phone and check your call log, discover that you had been using it and make a note to that effect in a police report.  Also, the lawyer for the other person involved in the accident could subpoena your telephone records and easily prove that you were using your phone at the time of the accident.


Studies on cell phone usage and driving clearly establish the harmful effect of making phone calls while operating a vehicle.  According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), cellular telephone usage on the road clearly inhibits a driver’s reaction time.  Some studies have suggested that using a cell phone while driving a vehicle can inhibit a driver’s reaction time as much as if the driver was slightly intoxicated.  This has led many states, including California, to enact laws prohibiting use cellular telephones and driving at the same time.


California law absolutely prohibits the use of a cellular telephone while driving.  So if you are found to have been using a cell phone at a time when an accident occurred, you may be held partly or fully responsible for the accident.  Because California follows the rule of comparative fault, you may still bring a claim, but your damages will be reduced according to your percentage of fault.


If the other driver was using a cellular telephone at the time of the accident, your personal injury attorney will be able to use that to prove that the other driver was being negligence and failed to exercise the utmost caution when they were driving their vehicle.  Your car accident lawyer may be able to use the other driver’s phone records to show that the other driver was careless and was not paying property attention to the road.