After Tennessee’s legislature passed the Hands-Free Law in 2019, motorists may not hold a mobile device in their hands while driving. Talking on the phone through a hands-free device, however, continues to cause distractions and may cause serious collisions.
It generally requires less than a second for a distraction to take a driver’s attention and focus away from the road. During this moment, he or she may strike another vehicle, a roadside object or a pedestrian. When a collision results in injuries, the priority is summoning and obtaining immediate medical attention.
As reported by The Tennessean, the Volunteer State has the highest number of fatalities caused by distracted driving. Based on data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 1,400 fatal accidents involving drivers distracted by cellphones occurred during a two-year study period.
Stopping after an accident
Tennessee’s laws require a motorist to stop at the scene when involved in an accident. Dialing 911 to dispatch an ambulance may help in saving lives. Determining who is at fault at this time is not as important as assisting any injured parties.
Law enforcement officials may conduct an investigation upon their arrival and record information about the accident scene. The investigating officers may ask drivers to show them their cellphones’ call records. The parties involved must provide each other with relevant personal details and exchange insurance information.
Reporting motor vehicle accidents
When a motorist is a party to an accident, he or she must report it to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security within 20 days. Failing to file a report may result in a fine and driver’s license suspension.
Filing a legal action for recovery
Recovering from injuries can require a combination of resources including time, money and patience. A legal action may help provide compensation for medical expenses not covered by an auto insurance policy.
The courts may determine that motorists who have caused accidents by allowing themselves to become distracted are responsible for the injuries they cause. In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, aggrieved parties may seek relief for pain and suffering.