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Rhode Island Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer | Slepkow Law

Don't Text and Drive

Rhode Island Texting and driving accident lawyer

Mobile technology is taking over our world and also the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Right now, about 90% of American adults and in all likelihood a higher percent of Ocean State residents have cell phones. While these devices have done a lot to make our lives easier in Rhode Island, they have also paved the way for a huge problem such as texting while driving. Here are 8 striking facts about this issue:

1. Every time you text and drive, you score a touchdown.

Texting while driving in Rhode Island distracts you from the road for an average of five seconds. If you are driving at 55 mph (typical highway speeds), you will have driven 100 yards in that time, or the full length of a football field. If you are speeding at all, then this distance increases exponentially. It will take you about the same distance to come to a complete stop at the same speeds (assuming you are driving something smaller than a truck). To further put this into perspective, 80% of all crashes are caused by driver inattention within 3 seconds of the accident. source

2. Statistically speaking, texting while driving in Rhode Island is more hazardous than you think

Many people think that although texting and driving can cause some accidents, it isn’t really all that dangerous. The statistics, however, say otherwise. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), texting and driving increases your risk of crashing by 2,300%.

3. Hundreds of thousands Americans text and drive every single day.

On a daily basis, 660,000 people in the US drive while using their phones. If you multiply this by the increased risk factor that we just discussed, the amount of danger that this creates becomes astronomical. source: NHTSA

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released new survey results that show that Americans continue to use electronic devices while driving, despite warnings that it causes their own driving to deteriorate and can lead to crashes, injuries and even death. The new data are being released at the start of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month….”

“Today’s 2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) shows that at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. According to separate NHTSA data, more than 3,300 people were killed in 2011 and 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.”  NHTSA  

4. Many teens pick their texting and driving habits up from hypocritical adults

U.S. adults will often blame youths for the texting and driving epidemic, but they actually learn that it is okay from us. According to 77% of all teens, adults who tell them not to text, email or look at their phones while they drive, do it themselves; the same percentage of teens are fully confident in their ability to safely text and drive. The correlation between these two statistics makes it clear that adult behaviors are a primary source of this illogical reasoning by teens.

“A new survey commissioned by AT&T* as part of the “It Can Wait” campaign indicates that while 97 percent of teens know texting while driving is dangerous, 43 percent of them admit to sending a text while driving – and 75 percent say the practice is common among their friends.” Source AT & T

5. Texting while driving has caused about a quarter of all crashes

Another startling fact is how many crashes have been caused by texting while driving. On average, about a quarter of the crashes that happen every year are a direct result of texting and driving. In 2011, for example, 1.3 million of the 5.65 million crashes that occurred were caused by texting — ATT

6. Texting while driving is as illegal as running a red light or speeding in most states

For 39 states and the District of Columbia, texting while driving doesn’t just increase your likelihood of getting into an accident. It will also land you a ticket that comes with a hefty fine. Police officers in these states are trained to spot texters as thoroughly as they are taught to identify speeding a single car on a crowded highway. The other 11 states are either putting similar legislation into the works or seriously debating it right now.

7. The vast majority of Americans and RI residents believe that texting while driving should be illegal

As we just mentioned, texting while driving is illegal in most of the country. The narrative that has led to these laws, however, has not been driven by our concerned members of the state legislature. Instead, the ardent need to make texting while driving illegal has been pushed by the same people who do it. 89% of all Americans believe that texting, emailing, dialing, or otherwise using your phone without the aid of a hands-free device is dangerous and should be illegal.

8. Technology to actively prevent your children from texting and driving exists

If you are a parent of a young adult, then you likely hold some serious concerns about your child’s safety while on the road — especially if you are have been seen by your son or daughter texting while driving. Fortunately, you can use modern technology to actively deter your teen from texting. Here are a few of your options:

• Some cell phone carriers provide cell phone technology that prevents texting while you are moving at certain speeds
• Drivecams that provide a live stream of a teen’s driving activity
• Most smartphone markets have apps that prevent texting while driving

Safer roads in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations begin with you

As the facts discuss in this article show, texting and driving is a dangerous epidemic in this country and in RI. Unless you find a way to yank the phones out of the hands of hundreds of thousands of people every day, however, you cannot stop everyone from texting and driving. Sadly, distracted driving is a part of our society today Fortunately, there is something you can do: stop yourself from texting and driving and do not engage in distracted driving, and deter your loved ones from doing it as well.

Reading a Text Message Enough to Sustain Texting While Driving Charge

Rhode Island texting while driving

In both an insignificant and meaningful decision the RI traffic tribunal determined that reading a text was enough to sustain a civil texting while driving offense in RI. This post was authored by an East Providence car accident attorney and RI texting while driving victim’s injury lawyer

The distracted driving trial on the merits

At the Distracted Driving trial, the police officer testified that he “observed the Appellant holding his illuminated cell phone at eye level.” and that “he was able to pass the Appellant’s vehicle slowly enough to clearly witness the Appellant holding an illuminated cell phone with the text message screen open and in plain view.” Id.

The alleged texting and driving violator denied that he was texting. “Appellant testified that the document indicated that there were no sent or incoming text messages within the timeframe of the stop. Id. Subsequently, the Appellant’s text messaging records from June 23, 2013 were entered as a full exhibit without objection from the State.1 See Defendant’ Id. Thankfully, there was no motor vehicle crash or car accident or anyone injured as a result of this incident!

Case Citation and laws | texting while driving

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Traffic Tribunal sitting in Providence Rhode Island issued a texting while driving / distracted driving legal appellate decision in STATE OF RHODE ISLAND v JASON KILSEY C.A. No. T13-0056 : 13001519371(Keep in mind that this Court is a low level Court which is not binding precedent on the Providence Superior Court or the RI District Court or The Rhode Island Supreme Court.) Read the decision here: textingdrivingri Read Rhode Island’s Texting While Driving Statute§ 31-22-30  Text messaging while operating a motor vehicle

The Court decision

The Court sustained the Trial Judges decision finding no abuse of discretion because there was sufficient evidence to support finding that the alleged violator was reading a text message which is clearly prohibited by the texting while driving statute. The Court reasoned that “The legislature’s intent when drafting and enacting section 31-22-30 (b) was to prohibit inattentive driving caused by composing, reading, or sending text messages. See Partington, 681 A.2d at 260.” Id.

The Traffic Tribunal reasoned:

“However, the trial judge specifically mentioned that § 31-22-30, “Text messaging while operating a motor vehicle,” prohibits activity that would not be reflected within the Appellant’s text message records from June 23, 2013, such as manipulating the phone and reading a text. See Tr. at 26-29; Tr. at 31. In addition, the trial judge credited the testimony of the Trooper stating that he observed the Appellant holding his cell phone in his hand, had a clear and unobstructed view of the text messaging screen, and witnessed the Appellant manipulating the cell phone with his hand as the Appellant’s vehicle swerved from the left to the right. Id. Appellant timely filed this appeal.” id.

“Section 31-22-30 (b) of the Rhode Island General Laws states that “[n]o person shall use a wireless handset to compose, read or send text message while operating a motor vehicle on any public street or public highway within the state of Rhode Island.” Section 31-22-30 (b) clearly and unambiguously states that reading text messages is a prohibited activity. “It is well settled that when the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, this [Panel] must interpret the statute literally and must give the words of the statute their plain and ordinary meanings.” Accent Store Design, Inc. v. Marathon House, Inc., 674 A.2d 1223, 1226 (R.I. 1996)”Id.

CDC Distracted Driving statistics:

The CDC reports that “Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1 Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.”
  • “Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.”

How big is the problem?

  • In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 416,000 people injured in 2010.” CDC 
RI texting while driving accident attrorney

Rhode Island texting and driving accident

There are literally hundred of different distracted driving types of  car accidents that could occur on Rhode Island streets, roads and highways. Of course, texting and driving is the most widely known type of distracted driving. There are hundreds of reported distracted driving car, truck and motorcycle collisions in RI each year. Sadly, these crashes cause serious personal injury or even death necessitating a Rhode Island texting while driving lawyer.

Texting while driving in Rhode Island | Need a lawyer?

If you were injured in an automobile or semi truck wreck caused by a negligent motorist who was distracted then it is imperative that you immediately retain a Providence area personal injury attorney. Statistics show that texting and driving is nearly as dangerous if not more dangerous then drunk driving, stoned driving and reckless driving. If you were injured as a result of a distracted driver, then you should contact a negligence an injury  lawyer.

Other types of  non texting while driving distracted driving:

  • utilizing gps, satellite radio
  • conversation
  • unruly children
  • web surfing and driving
  • cell phone/ mobile phone / smartphone usage
  • changing channel radio
  • eating/ drinking and driving
  • distractions on the side of the road, such as attractive people, animals, fight, car wreck, scenic view
  • reading while driving
  • personal grooming such as brushing hair or applying makeup
  • reading a text message
  • reading a book, map or manual
  • sexual activity and driving
  • “The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.
  • 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones (NHTSA)


Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer