It is hard think about going anywhere these days without your cellphone, but there was a point in time where the phones that you could use were landlines. For the last twenty years, cellphones have revolutionized the world in the way that they connected virtually everyone. However, there is a darker side to the mobile device that some people have a hard time putting down.
As the 2000’s come to a close, it is the clear that the last ten years have seen their fair share of car accidents caused by cellphone usage because they take the driver’s attention from the road to the person on the other end of the call. Who would have ever thought that something so small could do so much damage, creating an untypically deadly situation?
The car accident lawyers at our firm know from experience that wrongful deaths from auto accidents were much lower when technology had not yet produced the cellphone, or, as it was first referred to, the car phone. It was not until the late 1990’s that concerns about driver distractions sparked a series of studies to get to the root of car accidents where the culprit was a cell phone.
In the early 1960’s, a man helped to developed a telephone for Motorola that could be transported with customers because it had no landline connection. Several years later, that same man was brought in front of the Michigan state commission to testify about the potential hazards that can come from driving while talking on the phone.
“There should be a lock on the dial so that you couldn’t dial while driving,” he told the commission. This, coming from the man who invented the device that would cause numerous problems 40 year later.
It wasn’t until 1984 — a revolutionary year for the cellphone in terms of popularity — that AAA encouraged their customers to park their cars before using a cellphone unless they wanted to run the risk of getting into a car accident because of their inattention to the road. More people had purchased portable telephones since a phone company executive had made a historic call from his car phone to Alexander Graham Bell’s great grandson in Germany.
For the next 29 years, cellphone companies would promote their products as a status symbol, meaning that consumer numbers increased dramatically. To be part of the elite and modern world you had to have a cellphone, according to the ads by Cellular One, Ford, and Nextel. What was not being as heavily promoted were the studies conducted by numerous universities and clinics about who were associating phone usage with an increase in traffic accidents.
Results produced showed that talking on a cellphone can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol due to the fact that in both instances the driver does not have complete focus over their control of the vehicle.
At the turn of the century, cellphone companies started to make a concerted effort to inform their customers about not talking on the phone and driving at the same time. Commercials not only discouraged the practice, but now new car technology was being developed so you did not have to hold the phone up to your ear and could use your hands to steer your car.
Now, certain states like California ban talking on a cellphone and driving all together unless you have a hands-free device attached to your phone. Fines and penalties run high, but our firm’s car accident lawyers think they are fair and just because they are keeping people alive on the road. Our wish would be to outlaw cellphone usage in the car completely, but our attorneys understand that change takes time.
Look how long it took to get us to get to this point of cellphones and cars?
Call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney and find out how we can help you. We speak English and Spanish, and we look forward to providing advice for your case. No fee if no recovery.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines