Yesterday Fox News reported on a 16-year-old girl in California who killed herself by driving drunk, speeding, and texting on her cell phone at the same time. She lost control, crashed, and died of head injuries. Phone records gave the time of her texting, and her cell phone was found open at her feet.

There have been other reports recently in the news about people injuring themselves by walking into light poles while texting, or by stepping out onto the road, preoccupied with texting instead of looking out for traffic.

As long as such behavior injures only the person doing the texting, it would seem rather like poetic justice. But of course, others could easily be injured if drivers are so distracted by texting that they ignore speed signs and don’t see other vehicles. A driver wouldn’t have to be texting to be distracted. Just dialing and talking on a cell phone while driving creates danger for that person and all other drivers or pedestrians nearby.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is already dangerous and illegal. Speeding likewise. Texting or cell phone use is not illegal, but if it is done while driving, and contributes to a car accident, it is negligence. From a legal perspective, if you are injured in an accident at least partly caused by someone found to have been drunk, speeding, or texting, you may well have a valid legal claim.

If this has happened to you or to a loved one, please call or email our office for a free personal consultation and case evaluation.