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Tennessee's texting and driving fines may not be enough to deter

Sadly, there are many dangerous drivers on Tennessee's roads. Inattentiveness, recklessness and drunkenness all pose serious dangers to motorists. Texting and driving may be just as dangerous, yet it may not be viewed as seriously as, say, drunk driving. However, drivers who text and drive take their eyes and attention off the road, essentially rendering them momentarily blind. This can cause a devastating car wreck in the blink of an eye.

States, including Tennessee, have been taking action to curb texting and driving, but these efforts mainly involve fines. In Tennessee, drivers can be fined $60 if they are caught texting and driving. This pales in comparison to the $500 fine handed out in Indiana and the $750 fine in Utah. In Alaska, drivers can be fined $10,000 if they are caught texting and driving. So what does this mean for Tennessee motorists? It may mean drivers are not deterred from such negligent actions and all may be at risk of harm.

Since the criminal law is lenient on those who text and drive, those who are injured by a negligent driver who was texting should seek to hold them accountable to the fullest extent possible. A Knoxville attorney can assist in attempting to show the distracted driver was negligent by texting while driving and thus caused the accident that left the victim injured.

If a settlement is reached before trial or, on the other hand, if the victim succeeds on his claim before a court of law, then compensation may be awarded for several types of harm. These recoveries may include pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Awards such as these allow the victim to reach the fullest recovery possible while holding a texting and driving motorist accountable for his negligence.

Though the criminal law provides some punishment for those who text and drive, it may do little to deter the one-third of drivers who are texting while driving. It also may fail in providing true justice for those who are harmed by these drivers. The civil system, on the other hand, may play a powerful role by raising awareness of the dangers of these acts, punishing these reckless drivers, and getting victims the compensation they need and deserve.

Source: CBS News, "The penalty for texting and driving in your state," Dave Johnson, Nov. 6, 2013

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