Distracted driving, usually thought of as texting while driving, is an ever-increasing hazard on our roadways. The advent of new applications, such as Pokemon Go, has provided yet another distraction to operators of motor vehicles. In Japan, a truck driver struck two pedestrians, killing one of them, while being distracted playing Pokemon Go, according to an article in the New York Post.
Distracted driving usually involves cell phone use or texting while driving. While most people immediately think of driving under the influence or speeding as the chief cause of car accidents in the United States, cell phone use and texting while driving are just as dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, at least 1.6 million car accidents each year are caused by text messaging or general cell phone use. In fact, the NSC estimated that 23% of all traffic accidents involve the use of a cell phone. The NSC's study found that individuals who use cell phones while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. Unfortunately, the NSC report has done nothing to quell the use of cell phones while driving. As a result, cell phone related crashes continue to happen at an alarming rate. Many of these crashes result in debilitating injuries and can be fatal in some cases.
In New York, it is illegal to send or view text messages while operating a vehicle. Furthermore, New York's laws regarding use of mobile phones behind the wheel of a car prohibit the use of any other media, including websites and email. New York's mobile phone laws allow police officers to stop and ticket any drivers they see operating their cellular devices while behind the wheel. The effect of New York's texting laws cannot be overstated when it comes to lawsuits following an accident.
Due to New York's laws regarding mobile phone use in a car, texting while driving constitutes negligence. As a result, any driver who causes an accident while using their mobile phone may be liable for any damages incurred.