01 Apr Tweeting – More Dangerous than You Realize
By now, all of us have heard about the dangers of “distracted driving.” And for most of us, that has meant looking down at one’s phone to read or respond to a text message. And by now, most personal injury lawyers have had one or more clients who were injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by someone whose eyes were off the road for that reason.
But last month we settled our first “Tweeting” case. That is to say, a high speed rear end collision caused when the following driver slammed into a car slowing for a yellow light, because he was “Tweeting” – posting a message on the Twitter online messaging service.
Fortunately, the injuries were not serious. And the mere fact that the other driver (younger than 20 years old) admitted his distraction to the responding police officer pretty much established the fault. But what really made the case wasn’t the fact that he was Tweeting (i.e. driving while distracted) – it was that we were able to find, and print, the content of his Tweets. And when we pointed out to the young man’s insurance company that minutes before running into our clients he was broadcasting to his friends (and to interested readers like us) that he was driving to Columbia while smoking marijuana, the adjuster paid what we requested.
So there are two lessons here: First (and foremost) do not text, or Tweet, or otherwise focus your attention on something other than the road while you are driving. And second, and even when you are not driving, understand and appreciate the fact that what you Tweet can lead to trouble.
For more information on distracted driving, visit: www.distraction.gov