man on phone while driving

The Rhode Island Senate has approved a bill with a vote of 35 to 2 to ban drivers from handheld mobile phone use while driving. According to local news reports, Senator V. Susan Sosnowski, D-South Kingstown, led the fight with support from State Police Superintendent Steven G. O’Donnell, who wrote lawmakers a letter urging passage of the bill. The passage of the bill is to address distracted driving related car accidents in Rhode Island. If you were injured in a car accident by a distracted driver, contact the Providence car accident lawyers.

How Does This Affect RI Drivers?

Drivers would still be able to talk on their cellphone as long as they are using a hands free device. When the bill is made into a law, violators could be fined up to $100. However, the law would not apply to those using their cellphone in an emergency. In addition, the fine could be waived for first time offenders, if they purchase a hands free accessory before the fine is due.

Is This New Law Really Needed in RI?

The law is necessary because we now know that handheld cellphones are playing a major role in car accidents. Previous proposals for a cellphone ban while driving failed to pass in Rhode Island because lawmakers did not have enough information if handheld cellphones directly contributed to car accidents. However, research shows that cellphone use during driving could result in cognitive distractions. This means that even though your hands may be on the wheel and your eyes on the road, your mind may not be focused on the task of driving. This could prove dangerous and cause car accidents.

Does Cellphone Use Increase the Risk of a Car Accident in RI?

Superintendent O’Donnell stated that using a handheld cellphone while driving increases the risk of a crash. He also quoted statistics from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) statistics that driving distractions, including the use of cellphones, contribute to roughly 25 percent of all traffic accidents. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is a trade association representing 12 percent of the world’s leading automakers, also urged passage of the bill noting that modern technology allows drivers to speak on their phones hands-free.

Contact a Providence Car Accident Lawyer

personal injury lawyer explaining the new cellphone ban to clientIf you or someone you know has been injured a car accident, contact one of our experienced Providence car accident lawyers located at 390 Broadway, Providence, RI 02909. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. No fees are received unless you win your case. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call us at 401-831-8600 or toll free at 1-800-992-6878. You may also fill out our contact form online.

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Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 15 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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