Facing Charges for Texting and Driving In NH?
You are texting and driving. You know you shouldn’t be doing it but the messages are important - Your girlfriend is irate, the vet found a tick stuck to your dog, your grandmother is cooking meatballs for dinner. Whatever the reason –that text message you just received is of the utmost importance and you’re determined to text that person back. However, unbeknownst to you while your frantically typing away; your car is swerving over the double yellow line one second and scraping off the guardrail the next. Pedestrians and small animals bound for the side of the road to avoid your careening vehicle. Unfortunately for you (and your wallet), the kind police officer pulls up and sees you frantically typing on your phone oblivious to your surroundings. Or, much worse yet, you smash into someone killing them or maiming them for life. Now what?
- 9 people are killed every day from crashes involving a distracted driver. Another 1,060 are injured.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3, 328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2012;
- 18% of all automobile accident injuries in 2010 were due to distracted driving and 16% of all distracted driving crashes involved drivers under 20.
- According to research conducted by Distraction.gov you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident while texting and driving, as opposed to non-distracted driving;
- The National HWY Transportation Safety Administration reports that texting and driving is identical to drinking 4 beers and driving;
- Texting and driving results in 11 teen driver deaths every day and contributes to may crashes;
- Teens who text will spend 10% of their driving outside of their lane of travel.
Texting while driving kills. Texting while driving involves manual, visual and a thinking distraction all at the same time. You can’t text and simultaneously pay attention to the road. Sending or receiving a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. So, if you are driving 50 MPH and your vehicle covering 73 feet per second while sending and receiving a text messages, it’s akin to traveling the distance of a football field while blindfolded.
Penalty and Punishment in New Hampshire
New Hampshire RSA 265:105-a prohibits text messaging while operating a vehicle. A conviction is a violation level offense resulting in a mandatory $100 fine.
If you cause an accident as a result of your distracted driving you may very likely be sued for negligence. If you cause an accident while texting and driving you may be found to be “negligent per se.” Specifically, because you violated the texting statute, a jury may “presume” that you engaged in negligent conduct. Hence, if your found liable for the damage you caused, get prepared to say goodbye to your fortunes, goodbye to your life savings, goodbye to your paycheck, the money stashed in your safe and coins hidden under your couch cushions. You’re going to pay for the damage you caused.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a distracted driver, Attorneys Justin Shepherd and Mark Osborne are here to help. We can be reached at 603/595-5525. We are always happy to discuss your case and all consultations are confidential and free of charge.
By Attorney Justin Shepherd