Most of us have been there. We pass another vehicle on the roadway, and the driver is not looking at the road. Perhaps they are on their phone, eating, drinking, talking to someone in the back seat, or reaching down to pick up something that fell on the floor.
You may be guilty of the same type of behavior without thinking about it, but when another distracted driver crosses the center line as they approach, even slightly, it makes you want to shout at them to pay attention to what they’re doing.
Texting and other distracted (“inattentive”) driving behaviors are illegal in Hawaii for good reason. Taking our eyes off the road, even for a split second, can have devastating consequences. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you have a right to seek fair compensation for their negligence and your resulting damages. We can help.
Hawaii’s personal injury attorney, Daniel T Pagliarini AAL represents clients injured by distracted drivers in Honolulu, Hawaii, and throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including Maui, Lanai, Kauai, Molokai, and the Big Island. Here are a few things you should know about texting and distracted driving laws in the Aloha State.
What Makes Distracted Driving Dangerous?
There are three actions required to operate a motor vehicle safely. They are vision, physical movement, and cognition. All three of these actions are compromised when someone is distracted while driving, which is what makes a distracted driver a danger to everyone else they share the road with.
Visual cues are vital for safe driving. Your eyes should be scanning the roadway in front and beside you and checking the side and rearview mirrors for potential dangers. Even when you need to check your speedometer or fuel gauge, you keep the road in front of you within your line of sight. Looking at anything or anyone else in the vehicle literally takes your eyes off the road.
One of the reasons seasoned drivers tend to be safer than new ones is because the former have a “feel” for the car. They can turn on signals, lights, or cruise control without looking away from the road. Moreover, they can usually do it while keeping both hands on the steering wheel at all times. Removing one or both hands to call, text, change the radio station, or do anything but drive is dangerous.
Finally, safe driving requires concentration. There are hundreds of situations and dangers to scan for while operating a vehicle. If your mind isn’t on the task at hand, how you react to normal or abnormal driving conditions will be affected.
What Is Hawaii’s Distracted Driving Law?
The State of Hawaii prohibits all use of handheld electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. While adult drivers can use hands-free and voice-command devices, drivers under the age of 18 cannot use even those.
The exceptions to Hawaii’s law are calling 911 while driving or using handheld electronic devices when legally pulled off the roadway and turning off the engine before using them.
Emergency responders are exempt from the handheld device prohibition in the course of their duties, as are some instances of the use of two-way radios and amateur radios.
What Should I Do if I Was Hit by a Distracted Driver?
Hawaii is a no-fault state for auto insurance, which means your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other benefits up to policy limits, no matter who was at fault for the crash. However, if your injuries are serious, permanent, or disfiguring, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. You will need to prove that they were negligent in the operation of their vehicle and that their negligence caused the crash that caused your injuries.
How can you prove fault in a texting and driving incident? Proving that the other driver was texting while driving is not always an easy task. However, an experienced car accident attorney will explore every option in their investigation of the crash.
The driver may admit it at the scene to law enforcement, you, or witnesses. If so, their admission should be included in the officer’s crash report. We might also get them to admit they were distracted at the time of the accident by questioning them in a deposition under oath.
In our investigation, we would survey the crash scene and the roadway preceding the crash to see if any traffic, security, or doorbell cameras might have captured footage of the driver texting. Some individuals and businesses will provide that footage simply upon request. Others may require that we obtain a court order to do so.
There may be witnesses to the crash who will testify under oath that they saw the driver using their handheld device at the time of the crash.
Finally, we would ask the driver’s insurance company and their attorneys for copies of the driver’s phone records to verify whether they were on their phone at the time of the crash. They usually refuse, so we would be required to subpoena phone records.
Subpoenaing phone records and video footage, and compelling the other driver to be deposed under oath, requires that you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Once the driver has been served the petition for damages, the discovery process can begin. Both you, as the plaintiff, and the other driver, as the defendant, are entitled to certain information under the civil rules of discovery.
Serving Those Throughout Hawaii
If you believe the driver who hit and injured you was texting or otherwise distracted at the time of the crash, you need to work with a personal injury attorney who leaves no stone unturned to prove it. Attorney Daniel T Pagliarini AAL will seek to uncover everything he can to prove fault upon the person responsible for your injuries and other damages.
Let us get started on your case. Call Daniel T Pagliarini AAL in Honolulu, Hawaii, now to schedule your free case consultation.