Cell phones are a major part of everyone’s life. Cell phone use is so prevalent that it is considered normal for people to check their phones while driving. Despite the normalization, Toledo accidents involving cell phones can still have near fatal consequences for all parties involved. Typically a person is not allowed to be using a cell phone while driving. Normally a person is not going to receive a citation if they are seen driving while using a cell phone, but if they believe that it impacted the cause of the accident, then the person can be cited for that under Toledo and Ohio Law. With that said, if another’s cell phone use contributed to an accident you were involved in, it is important to seek the counsel of an adept car accident lawyer who can advocate for you and help recover damages.
Prohibited Behaviors While Driving
A person is not allowed to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs if it meets the definition of substantially impairing their ability to drive, and that could mean testing over a certain limit for an alcohol test. The standard for a breath test is 0.08 which is essentially four or five drinks for a 150-pound person.
For drugs, law enforcement does a urine test to find out if a person is under the influence of either a large amount of prescription drugs or illegal drugs. The prosecution would have the duty to prove that the drugs have substantially impaired his ability to safely drive on a public road.
A person is allowed to talk or listen to the radio or eat while driving, but obviously, if they are eating and do not have any hands on the wheel, they can be cited for the accident. The standard is, if a person does something that impairs their ability to safely drive, any sort of substance or pretty much anything under Ohio law, they will be cited. Under the age of 18, a person is not supposed to use a cell phone in a vehicle if they are the driver of a car under Ohio Law. This is not always enforced unless there is an accident.
Impact of Cell Phone Use on An Injury Claim
If there is a lawsuit filed, a standard question asked in interrogatories (written questions to be answered under oath) to the defendant is whether or not they were on a cell phone or not. Also, it is a standard request that they provide their cell phone number as of the day of the accident and the provider on the day of the accident. The attorney will subpoena written records to determine if a person was on the phone at the time of the accident, and call the person they were speaking with to investigate whether the person was on the phone.
If a person was on the phone, an argument can be made that they have contributed to the accident. Obviously, there may be defenses such as they were on speaker phone or they were not at the time of the accident, but immediately after the accident. This is an issue that springs up on a regular basis.
What If Both Parties Were Using Their Cell Phones?
The major issue in Toledo accidents involving cell phones is whether the use of the cell phone contributed to the accident by either party. Obviously if one of the parties runs a red light, blows a stop sign, or is speeding, the argument is going to be that irresponsibility is what caused the accident. The fact that every single person has talked on a cell phone and driven themselves makes it interesting for Voir Dire (questions to the jury) in jury selection. If that is a big issue in the case, there would probably be a discussion with potential jurors on what their habits are and what their opinions are on that sort of conduct. The end result of the case would be better if the other driver was the one on the cell phone.
Evidence Needed in Cases Involving Cell Phones
In Toledo accidents involving cell phones, the attorney would obtain the transcript of the cell phone used for the day in question of both the plaintiff and the defendant. If there are witnesses in the car, their depositions (testimony under oath) would be taken as far as the use of the telephone. It would also be determined if either party was texting 5 or 10 minutes before the accident, and 5 or 10 minutes after the accident. It may be important to obtain texting or cell phone records of some other passengers in the car to see if they made any statements regarding fault for the accident or statements that would contradict their testimony in a deposition.
Consent Required to View Phone Records
In a criminal case or civil case, law enforcement or the prosecutor in a criminal case could use a subpoena duces tecum (written request to provide evidence and/or appear in court on a specific day to provide that evidence), an official legal document of a pending criminal case. This method is also used in a civil case to obtain records.
In a civil case, one party can simply request that the other party sign an authorization which allows access to certain evidence. If they refuse to the sign the authorization, then the attorney could ask the court to force the other party to sign an authorization or serve a subpoena duces tecum to obtain those records.
If want to know more about Toledo accidents involving cell phones, contact a knowledgeable attorney who can answer your questions.