Texting: New Causes of Work Injuries

Aug 21, 2014 | WC & Other Laws

According to a survey conducted by AT&T, almost 98% of adults admitted that they text while they drive. The worse part is, they do it despite the fact that they know it’s wrong. Employees who get into accident because of negligence, particularly texting while behind the wheel, may not be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Figures: Accidents Caused by Texting while Driving

Based on statistics, more then 9 people are killed each day due to distracted drivers, and more than 1,060 of those injured in crashes are due to distracted driving. The use of cell phones while driving is considered one of the most common causes of road accidents, the act involving not only the movement of hands and eyes – but also the mind. To remedy the situation, the Governors Highway Safety Association said that DC and 39 states, including Colorado, had already banned all drivers from texting while they are on the wheels.

Using your mobile phone to text someone while you are in the driver’s seat can cause accidents. If you are a company driver whose work involves picking up employees to and from work, you may face charges in court for texting while driving.

Laws governing texting while driving may vary from state to state, but the punishment for such generally includes criminal charges, monetary fines, and prison time. Monetary fines can reach as high as $500. Criminal misdemeanor charges may result for violation of the laws. And if bodily injury or death resulted due to texting while maneuvering the steering wheel, the driver can be imprisoned. If you are a repeater, which means that you had been involved and had been caught violating the laws for the second time, the judge may choose a higher penalty or a longer sentence in jail.

Aside from legal consequences, drivers who text while driving may face other penalties for doing this, such as demerit points on their driving records, revocation or suspension of driving privileges, vehicle impoundment, or undergoing mandatory road safety classes. Driver employees should be aware that stricter regulations are imposed to commercial drivers and school bus drivers. For instance, truck and bus drivers who have violated the ban on texting while driving can be subject to fines as much as $2000 or more.

If you are facing criminal misdemeanor charges for texting while driving, you should contact a lawyer immediately, this being a serious offense. This is especially true if the violation caused great injury or death of the victim. You also need a lawyer if it is a repeat offense since punishments to second-timers are more severe than first-time offenders.

For businesses that rely on vehicles driven by employees, employers should be aware of the dangers associated with texting and repeatedly communicate this with their employees. Whether it involves talking on cell phones or reading and sending text messages while behind the wheel, the distracted driver is prone to serious accident. In fact, a lot of businesses have adhered to the call for responsible driving both by the government and non-government agencies and as such, they have developed strict driving policies as to the use of cell phones and other possible distractions while on the road.

Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex.  Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve.   Contact us here or call us at 303-780-7329 for your FREE CONSULTATION.