What to do if you’re charged with distracted driving after an accident
In a world dominated by technology, accidents caused by distracted driving are becoming more frequent.
No one plans to have an accident, but with technology like smartphones ever-present in our lives, we are unfortunately seeing a rise in distracted driving – and its consequences.
If you are charged with distracted driving after an accident, read on for the steps to take and the best way to navigate them.
1) Make sure everyone is safe
Your first action after any accident, whether you are at fault or not, is to make sure that everyone is safe. Move vehicles to a safe location if possible, and turn on hazard lights. Check that no one is injured, and call emergency services.
2) Comply with law enforcement
Once law enforcement officers arrive, make sure you are cooperative. Provide them with the facts, as best you can, but don’t speculate or admit fault. Remember that anything you say at the scene might be used against you later. The less you say, the better.
3) Understand what you are being charged with
Distracted driving charges and penalties vary from state to state and cover a wide range of behaviors. These include:
- Talking on your phone
- Recording or watching videos
- Applying makeup
- Eating or drinking
So make sure you understand exactly what the officers are charging you with. If you want to know more about what constitutes ‘distracted driving’ you can read more about it here.
4) Gather evidence
You may be in shock after your accident, but if you can at the time (if not, afterwards) make sure you document as much of the scene as possible. This includes the positioning of vehicles, any damage, and any relevant road signs or signals. Also get contact details of any witnesses. Gathering evidence early will help you to build a case later, if needed.
5) Hire an attorney
Whenever you have been charged after an accident, it is important to speak to an attorney experienced in your specific driving offenses. An attorney who specializes in distracted driving will have insights into the local laws, advise you on your rights, and help you negotiate the legal process.
6) Check your phone records
If you have been charged with distracted driving your phone records may be important evidence. So, with your attorney, review your records and any other evidence that may be relevant. Your attorney will understand the context of phone use at the time of the accident, and this could be essential for your defense.
7) Consider your options
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may have a number of options after being charged with distracted driving. This can include attending driving courses or pursuing plea bargains, so check with your attorney. If your case goes to court, work with your attorney to prepare a robust defense. This will be easier if you have followed the steps in this article.