When another driver texts, is it criminal or just negligent?

The decisions that other people make can leave you or people that you love in unnecessary danger. For example, people who choose to drink and then drive endanger the people who encounter them on the road. The same can easily be said about people who text and drive.

Most people readily acknowledge how dangerous texting at the wheel can be, but that doesn't stop everyone from looking down at their phones or trying to send a message while driving. People who have their hands and their eyes on their phone instead of on the steering wheel of their vehicle will have longer reaction times that could easily contribute to a major motor vehicle wreck.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you may find yourself wondering whether the other driver's actions constitute negligence or a criminal act. The answer to that question could very well be that texting while driving is both.

Negligence involves failing to take proper care

In a legal context, the word negligence means failing to fulfill an obligation to act in a manner that most reasonable people would in a situation. When someone's omissions, oversight or poor decision-making result in injury to other people, the negligent person may be legally responsible for the financial impact of their actions or inaction.

Negligence could involve a failure to maintain their property properly. Preventable structural or mechanical issues can be a major source of liability. Actions that someone takes without considering the impact on others could also be a form of negligence.

Given that most people recognize the potential risks involved with texting and driving, it is unnecessarily dangerous to indulge in the practice.

Texting and driving is criminal in Tennessee

Not all states have a total ban on texting while driving, but Tennessee does. Drivers of any age should not engage in manual reading or composing of text messages while driving a vehicle on public roads.

Police officers who catch someone texting at the wheel can cite that person for a traffic violation. Texting while driving could also result in an allocation of responsibility in the event of a collision or wreck.

If you get into a crash caused by another driver who had been texting at the time of the collision, you may have the right to hold that driver responsible for the impact of their actions. From lost wages to the cost of repairing your vehicle, it may be possible to seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against a driver whose reckless texting at the wheel causes a collision.

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