Put the Phones Away, Driving and Snapchat Just Don’t Mix!
It’s fairly common knowledge that excessive speed and texting are two of the biggest causes of car accidents on the roads. But while nearly every road in the United States has a posted speed limit, there are still states that don’t have any regulations over texting while driving. Arizona is one of these, and it’s not only surprising to many, it’s appalling. While the dangers of texting and driving have been known nearly as long as cell phones have, it’s perhaps never been showcased more than in a recent Florida case.
Back in October of 2016, Pablo Cortes III and his girlfriend, Jolie Bartolome, were racing down a Florida highway. A Snapchat video that was being filmed by Jolie showed the car’s speed as it crept past an exceptionally dangerous 82 miles per hour. In the final moments of the video, the odometer read 115 miles per hour. Seconds after that, what the video didn’t show, was Pablo losing control of the car as it flipped over a median, hit another car, and burst into flames. That car was holding a family, and all five of them died in the crash.
Family members of the victims stated they believed drag racing was involved, but witnesses countered those claims, saying they all saw the VW Golf tearing up the road all alone. In the end, the real reason for the cause was likely the excessive speed the car was traveling, and the fact that the driver was distracted by a cell phone that was filming him at the time.
Arizona doesn’t have any state laws pertaining to texting while driving or distracted driving, even though the Arizona House of Representatives passed a law restricting it, only to have it recanted shortly after. Phoenix however, seeing the devastation texting and driving has caused, has put their own city laws in place.
Texting and driving in Phoenix is illegal, with drivers facing a fine up to $100 for the infraction. However, if a driver is distracted by a cell phone, as he was in the Florida case, and it results in a car accident, the fine can be up to $250. Clearly these are still very small fines for accidents that can have tragic results. However, they do help in personal injury cases or wrongful death cases, when the compensation for victims and their families can be much greater.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, and you believe reckless and distracted driving were to blame, contact The Husband and Wife Law Team at (602) 267-1280. We know how devastating these cases can be, and we want to help you through this difficult time.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer