Every year, Utah citizens suffer the tragedy of alcohol related wrongful deaths caused by drunken drivers. Though it is clearly illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, and although the dangers of drunk driving are widely known, an alarming number of individuals still drive while intoxicated and each year lives of Utah citizens are unnecessarily cut short because of drunken driving accidents. But driving while talking on a cell phone can be just as dangerous.
A recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune noted that cell phone related car accidents increased from 135 per year to 218 per year between 2003 and 2005. And those statistics are probably underrated. As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, “Unless a driver in a crash acknowledges using a cell phone or a witness can attest to it, it’s hard to know if a cell phone contributed to the accident.”
Additionally, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cell phone use is the most common distraction for drivers.
While talking on a cell phone while driving is not presently illegal in Utah, drivers who cause accidents because they are talking on a cell phone are fully liable under Utah law for any brain injury, serious injury or death caused by the accident. The personal injury lawsuits arising out of cell phone use on the highway are increasing. They are increasing because the number of people injured in such accidents is increasing as well.