Distracted driving can be any activity that distracts someone from the task of driving. It can include talking or texting on a phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your car, adjusting a radio or programming GPS navigation.
Distracted driving can result in collisions, injuries and death, in addition to traffic violation citations. Distracted driving can also be used in an injury case arising from a car accident as a statement of negligence or recklessness.
How does Montana rank for distracted driving regulation?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Distracted Driving Awareness Month, held every April, was canceled, according to Forbes.
Studies were released early this year showing that distracted driving isn't regulated or enforced the same in each state. This was intended to be a focal point for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Montana ranked very poorly — at No. 49 — for laws preventing drivers from using cellphones behind the wheel. That placed Montana in the top five states with the most lenient distracted driving laws and enforcement.
What are Montana's distracted driving laws?
There are many states across the U.S. that have banned all uses of cellphones while driving. Montana isn't one of them.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Montana has absolutely no laws in place prohibiting cellphone use for drivers or even texting and driving. This is despite distracted driving being one of the leading causes of serious and fatal crashes in the state.
How prevalent is distracted driving?
Montana had 87 confirmed distracted driving fatalities from 2013-2017. According to the National Safety Council, we don't truly know how prevalent distracted driving is because many cases don't get reported.
Furthermore, there is no way to tell if a driver was using a cellphone immediately after a crash without obtaining a warrant or a subpoena of electronic records.
Even if Montana were to establish a texting and driving or cellphone ban, other forms of distracted driving would continue to put road users at risk. Some forms of distraction may not leave any physical or digital evidence. These include eating, drinking, multi-tasking, adjusting a radio or taking care of personal hygiene.
What are my legal options if I'm involved in a crash with a distracted driver?
If you were involved in a crash with a distracted driver, you need an experienced car accident attorney on your side who can launch a thorough investigation. This may include obtaining a subpoena for cellphone records or nearby surveillance camera footage.
You can count on Braukmann Law, PLLC to gather the facts and help you build a strong legal claim. Our firm can also negotiate with insurance companies for a fair financial settlement. We would only settle on one that covers all damage accrued from your crash.
Contact us online or call our Billings office at (406) 606-1650. We offer free case consultations.