Cell phones are part of our everyday lives. Unfortunately, this technology has seeped so much into our daily activities that we often use cell phones while completing other important tasks, such as operating a motor vehicle. While the general public, legislators, and insurance companies depend on various government agencies at the state and federal level to provide accurate and relevant data regarding traffic accidents, this information is not as accurate as we might think. All of this information is critical to keeping everyone safe on America’s roads.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the actual number of car accidents related to cell phone usage between the years of 2006 and 2017 — a timeframe spanning more than a decade — were harder to track due to lack of reporting. Residents in Las Vegas and beyond should be aware of the actual number of accidents that happen on Nevada roads and the causes behind these collisions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
Reasons for Underreporting
In Las Vegas, the law requires drivers to use cell phones hands-free. Legislators put this in place to protect those on the roadways and in an effort to minimize driver distractions. There are some loopholes in state law, however, that permit some use of cell phones including:
- Ability to activate: Although you have to be hands-free afterwards, the law allows for dialing a number, inputting a GPS destination, swiping to answer a call while operating a vehicle — all actions that could cause a car accident;
- Lack of reporting: While this can be determined through discovery or police investigation after the crash, a person will likely not admit to using a cell phone while driving in violation of the law;
- Inconsistency in statements: Witnesses to car accidents can become confused right after the collision and some may have purportedly seen a driver with a cell phone while others may not have witnessed the same thing; and
- Failed reporting system: The National Safety Council (NCS) notes that 26 states do not give the option of “texting” and 32 states do not have hands-free cell phone use as causes of an accident for reporting data purposes.
As can be seen, keeping an accurate account of accidents caused by cell phone usage is more complicated than it should be and makes underreporting highly likely.
Deadly Car Accidents
Cell phone usage not only causes car accidents, but they can cause fatal ones. In 2019, there were more than 250 deadly car accidents across the state of Nevada. As many as 25 people were killed in car accidents in Clark County alone that same year. Surviving family members of a victim of a fatal car crash may be able to file a wrongful death claim in Nevada civil court. Under Nevada state law, a wrongful death claim may be filed up to two years from the date the victim passes away. The individuals who may file a claim include:
- The executor or personal representative of the deceased;
- The surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children of the deceased;
- If there are no surviving children or spouses, then the surviving parents of the deceased;
- Other individuals who may have been financially dependent upon the deceased at the time of passing.
We Can Help
If you have been involved in a Nevada car accident due to another’s fault, or a loved one has tragically been killed in a crash, contact the attorneys at H&P Law today. With offices located in Las Vegas and Henderson, we can guide you every step of the way during this difficult time.