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DWD! – Cell Phone Distraction Causes Car Crash, $14.4 Million Award

DWD graphic.jpgReckless driving for using his cell phone while behind the wheel – that’s the conviction Christopher Bevis was facing in Melbourne, Florida. The head-on car crash he caused left a man with a fractured humerus, crushed left ankle, a traumatic brain injury affecting his speech.

The Daily Business Review reported that Bevis did not appear at the civil trial and a default judgment was entered. The court awarded the injured man $14.4 million
Case: Kroeger v. Bevis – Case No.: 2007-CA-015242
In April 2010, John Leighton presented “Driving While Distracted: The New DUI” to lawyers attending the American Association of Justice (AAJ) JazzFest Seminar in New Orleans.

As of December 2008, there were 271 million cell phones in use in the United States, representing 84% of the country’s population. Drivers are increasingly distracting themselves by chatting, texting and emailing while on the road, often resulting in dangerous accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driving while distracted contributes to one in every four car crashes. By some estimates, in as many as half of all crashes (there were six million last year), cell phone use was involved.

The widespread awareness of this problem has prompted government concern and states are now addressing the issue legislatively. Some states and municipalities have acted to ban texting while driving and/or driving with a handheld device, while six states – including Florida – have laws that prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting restrictions. In other states, localities are allowed to ban cell phone use or texting while driving. In October 2009, President Obama issued an order banning all 4.5 million federal employees from texting while driving.

Join the campaign for a No Phone Zone.