When driving through the valley, you should be aware of your surroundings; especially if you are using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Regardless of whether you are using a hands-free system or have your phone to your head, talking while driving can be significantly distracting. And as we have noted in our posts, distracted drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents.
It appears that the Tempe City Council feels the same way. According to an azcentral.com report, the Council recently passed an ordinance that gives law enforcement to cite drivers if they see drivers driving erratically or swerving in their lanes while they are using a phone.
The fine for a first time offense would be $100. The fine would escalate to $250 for a second offense. It remains to be seen whether the new ordinance will reduce distracted driving.
Besides the civil penalties involved, offending drivers could face additional liability if they are involved in an accident. As a matter of law, a driver who fails to use reasonable care when driving and who causes an accident as a result can be held responsible for their actions. This means that person injured by such a driver can seek money damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, as well as lost wages stemming from not being able to work.
After all, being cited for driving erratically while using a cell phone can be used as evidence that a driver was not using reasonable care, and that such a failure was the likely cause of the accident. If you have questions about your rights and options, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.