Cell-phones are everywhere. It is common practice now for lawyers to ask about cell-phone use during an accident. Studies overwhelmingly show that talking on a cell-phone while driving increases the risk of having an accident multiple times.
When drivers use a cell-phone, they are taking their minds off the road and thinking about what is being said on the cell-phone. I wonder how many accidents are caused each year by an inattentive driver.
An attorney can easily access cell-phone records to determine if the driver of the vehicle that crossed the center line or pulled in front of oncoming traffic was talking on the cell-phone at the time of the wreck. Interrogatories and requests for production of the cell phone bill will show whether or not the driver was using the cell-phone at the time of the wreck.
If driving while intoxicated merits punitive damages, why shouldn’t driving while impaired by using a cell-phone merit punitive damages? I think with all the studies showing how cell- phones impair drivers; this is an area of the law that we may see expanding in the next few years.