Many states all across the country have enacted distracted driving laws that prohibit the use of cellphones and other devices (including handheld and hands-free devices). Here is a state by state guide: http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/state-laws.html#top
North Dakota became the 31st state to ban texting for all drivers in April of 2011. And the requirements under the law for teens using a variety of multimedia devices are even more stringent. All sorts of hands-free devices are off-limit for teens in North Dakota while driving. Teens cannot even use a digital camera while operating a vehicle. Violations can cost a fine of $100 for first-time offenders.
Officers in 2011 in Grand Forks, and again in 2011 in Bismarck instituted cell phone bans and handed out citations to send a clear message: Texting is dangerous and seriously increases the possibility of car accidents. In Fargo, police officers set up sting operations in 2012 to catch texters and send a community-wide message that distracted driving would not be tolerated.
In Minnesota, the laws are very similar. But, Minnesota was ahead of the curve. They were the third state (out of 35) to pass laws prohibiting the use of cellphones and texting while driving. The state prides itself on reducing deaths from accidents dramatically and attributes its success to proactive driving laws.
In Minnesota, anyone found guilty of causing a motor vehicle accident due to distracted driving can lose their license for a year and face criminal gross misdemeanor charges. The tough stance taken by Minnesota may be in part due to the exorbitant loss of life in the state between 2006-2008 when over 50,000 people lost their lives in car accidents.
Despite these efforts, accidents due to distracted drivers are still a serious problem. Police officers say that the new laws and campaigns aimed at educating the public are an important step, but not a complete deterrent. And, the laws themselves are very difficult to enforce. Police may give you a citation if they suspect you of texting but they would still need to request a warrant to get confirmation from your phone records.
The dangers of distracted drivers can touch any family and can be devastating to individuals and families. Accidents that result in injury or death disrupt lives with grief, financial concerns, issues of medical care, rehabilitation, and employment. Unfortunately, it is when people are focused on their grief that legal issues may arise. That’s when it is time to find experts that can fight for you so you can focus on you, your family, and recovery.
Individuals and families that have suffered damages from the negligence of a distracted driver are advised to seek legal advice. The experienced attorneys at the Solberg Stewart Miller law firm in Fargo, ND are leaders in litigation regarding auto accidents. Call the Fargo office today at (701) 401-8588 or visit a Fargo Auto Accident Attorney today.