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A settlement was reached in a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from a September 2010 auto-motorcycle accident. The suit was filed by the family of the motorcyclist who was seriously injured on his 55th birthday and died eight days later.

The lawsuit alleged that the driver of a Honda pulled out in front of the motorcycle as she left a parking lot. The suit claimed gross negligence, alleging the driver of the Honda was distracted by her cell phone when the accident happened. The victim’s family sought compensation for medical expenses, mental depression, anguish and grief, and loss of income. The jury awarded the family $1.25 million in the settlement. The award will help the victim’s children complete their college education.

The accident is further proof that talking on a cell phone or texting while driving is a dangerous distraction for motorists. Studies continuously show that drivers who use cell phones in their vehicles have a higher risk of an auto accident than drivers who don’t – whether holding the phone or using a hands-free device.

Why doesn’t Texas have stricter laws banning cell phones while driving? Ask Governor Rick Perry! Currently, it is illegal for all drivers to use a cell phone while driving within a school zone. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using wireless communications devices and drivers with a learners permit are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving. School bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones while driving only if children are present.

In 2011, the Texas State Legislature approved a bill which would have made texting while driving illegal throughout the state, but Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed the proposed law claiming the key to dissuading drivers from texting while driving is information and education. If this is true, then why do we have laws requiring seatbelts, Governor Perry? Why do we have drunk driving laws? Education is not enough!

Talking on the cell phone and texting while driving has become an addiction for many drivers. Laws are the beginning of a call to action to stop this behavior; we need to start somewhere in order to improve safety on our roadways. We must increase public awareness, enact tougher laws, and step up enforcement. There should be consequences for distracted driving.

Whether or not your state has cell phone or texting laws, keep both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road and pay attention to your surroundings. If you can't wait until you park your vehicle to talk or text, then there's a real problem. Money will never bring back this motorcyclist or any other victim of a distracted driver, but lawsuits help spread the word that this is dangerous and risky behavior. Isn’t it time to focus on safe driving? I encourage everyone to call or e-mail their state senators especially those on the Transportation Committee and push for no texting/no talking while driving laws. Your life might depend on it.

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

2 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Amber

    I agree that texting while driving is something that should be banned, but talking on your cell phone with a hands free device? Are they going to ban listening to the radio next? As for the section on seatbelt laws, I find it obsurd that TX has a strict seatbelt law and yet you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet. I believe the seatbelt law should have been vetoed too, but se la vi.

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