Distracted driving crashes related to mobile phone use have certainly increased in recent years with the proliferation of touchscreen mobile devices, but that doesn’t mean it’s a new risk on the road. Distracted driving has been a problem for as long as people have had to commute.
Drivers can easily distract themselves with many things other than phones including a meal, conversations with passengers, grooming, music on the radio and even just daydreams in their heads. Unlike most other forms of distraction, distraction related to texting and driving leaves behind evidence.
However, given that most people on the roads in Pennsylvania already know that they shouldn’t text at the wheel, a driver who causes a crash while texting — and isn’t immediately beset with injuries — is likely to delete their message history or at least the most recent texts that they sent to avoid incriminating themselves when police officers arrive. Given the likelihood of deleted evidence, is it even possible to prove that someone caused a crash due to texting?
Both police forensics and warrants can confirm phone use
In some cases, such as a situation where criminal charges may result from the crash, police officers may take the phone of the driver at the scene of the accident as a piece of evidence related to the alleged crime. Even if that individual deleted text messages or their entire text history, it is possible for computer forensics specialists to recover those deleted messages and verify when someone used their phone.
Not every case will result in criminal charges, but thankfully, police forensics skills are not the only way to determine if someone texted at the time of a crash. With a warrant for phone records, it is also possible to determine someone’s use history, even if the phone itself never gets recovered or analyzed by law enforcement. In fact, an attorney representing an injured party from a crash may even be able to request phone records in some situations without a criminal warrant or case.
Texting is a form of negligence that can leave people severely hurt
Much like drinking and driving, texting and driving is a dangerous practice that many people recognized as unsafe. Despite knowing the dangers inherent in the behavior, quite a few people choose to text and drive anyway. Texting while driving is against Pennsylvania law, but that also doesn’t deter people.
Anyone who winds up injured as a results of a driver’s poor decision-making, as well as those who have to deal with expensive property damage caused by a distracted driver, can likely bring a personal injury claim against the individual who caused the crash. Evidence that the other driver texted immediately prior to the collision will help build a personal injury case.