Arizona car accident attorneys are accustomed to handling all sorts of issues that arise from traffic accidents, but the rules are changing. It is essential that all Arizona car accident attorneys know of these changes, and how they impact your case.
About a month ago, the Arizona Senate voted 19-10 to adopt a ban on texting while driving. The statewide ban followed the earlier ban passed in Phoenix, (Phoenix City Code 36-76.01), and like the Phoenix law, the state law will make texting while driving a non-moving civil traffic violation. While the police won’t be writing tickets for several more months, it’s important for Arizona car accident attorneys to keep the law in mind for their cases.
For one thing, because Arizona uses a comparative fault system, the fact that a driver is texting may mean that they will be held liable for the accident and any damage done to their car, the other car, and all the medical bills for everyone’s injuries. Drivers always have a duty to use ordinary care and to take reasonable precautions to ensure they drive safely. Breaking the rule about texting while driving may fall into a special legal category called negligence per se. This basically means that if a person breaks a law and causes damage, if the purpose of the law was to prevent the kind of accident that happened, the person who was violating the law is legally deemed to be negligent. This can mean the act of texting while driving itself will put the offending driver at fault.
Eventually, breaking the rule could result in a $50 ticket or $200 if a driver causes an accident as a result of texting while driving. Does the fact that the police are not yet authorized to cite drivers under the texting ban change the negligence per se analysis? What about during the period during January 2011 in which the police are only authorized to give warnings? Professional Arizona car accident attorneys will surely keep these questions in mind, as it can make a big difference in a case involving a driver who was distracted by texting.
An interesting wrinkle in the bill passed by the state Senate is that looking up a telephone number, dialing it, and having a conversation is still going to be legal. If texting while driving is going to fall into the negligence per se category of traffic offenses, experienced Arizona car accident attorneys will likewise be prepared to handle factual issues about whether litigants were using their phones to talk or to text before getting into accidents.
Of course, it’s also important not to forget about existing laws. Whether you’re one of the experienced Arizona car accident attorneys or a driver addicted to multitasking behind the wheel, more general laws like reckless driving are always considered in determining fault for a collision that occurs on the Arizona roads. People interested in learning how the new and existing laws could affect their own situation should contact one of the experienced Arizona car accident attorneys at Zachar Law Firm. For a free, no-obligations consultation with a specialized lawyer, call (602) 494-4800 or visit www.ZacharAssociates.com.
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