Drunk driving accidents claim the lives of over 10,000 people per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Another 3500 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. Although many states outlaw texting or even talking on cell phones while driving, cell phone use accounts for many incidents each year and continues to increase.
What Happens After An Automotive Accident?
After an accident, investigators immediately start gathering evidence to determine the exact cause. Investigators will examine skid marks on the road, interview witnesses, photograph the positions of the vehicles involved, and search for any other physical clues that will help determine how the accident happened and who was responsible. In many cases, witnesses to the accident have observed one of the drivers talking on the phone or looking at the screen just prior to a crash, providing the first piece of evidence to show that distracted driving was a factor.
Increasingly, investigators are turning to drivers’ and passengers’ cell phones to gather evidence. The most obvious form of evidence, of course, would be records from a driver’s cell phone showing that they had been texting prior to the accident. Even if erased from a phone, records of texts sent and received can be obtained from a carrier. Similarly, records of sent emails and the timing of posts on social media can help prove a driver’s negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can help identify and obtain these important electronic data records.
The Role Of Social Media
Social media can be an important source of evidence in an accident case. Many people post details about their activities on a regular basis, not realizing that those posts can be used as evidence in civil and criminal cases. For example, an underage driver may have posted pictures of himself drinking at a bar or party prior to an accident. While that alone cannot establish that a driver was intoxicated, it can establish where an intoxicated driver was served alcohol and may lead to a claim against the person or business who served the alcohol. Someone else may have tweeted about a particularly crazy event at which alcohol or illegal substances were present, and even posted selfies of themselves indulging. These posts can also be used to help establish impairment if that person causes an accident.
In the case of hit-and-run accidents, it can be difficult to determine who was driving at the time of the accident. With no eyewitnesses to identify the driver, it may be impossible to prove who was at the wheel, even if the owner of the vehicle is identified. After all, the owner can report the vehicle stolen, or say that the vehicle had been loaned to a friend. In such a case, cell phone GPS tracking records can show whether an individual was near the accident when it occurred.
What To Do If You’ve Become A Victim Of Distracted Driving
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in which impaired or distracted driving might have been a factor, the accident specialists at Campbell & Associates can help identify and obtain vital electronic evidence that will help prove your case.