Friday, February 15, 2013



As an injury attorney, I see the effects of in catastrophic injuries that are caused by car accidents every day. Texting while driving is adding to that carnage.
The problem is widespread. Almost half of all Americans now own smartphones that support texting. And, most of us have texted without any harm at times. That reinforces our bad behavior.  Texting is much worse than most us ever realized.
Texting while driving makes one 23 times more likely to be in an accident. It is like being a drunk driver.

On average, you take your eyes off the road for five (5) full seconds to text. At just 60 miles per hour, that is 88 feet per second or 440 feet!  That is the length of a football field and a half! Certainly, that is more than enough time for a car, a deer or even a little child to “appear out of nowhere.”
Texting is much more dangerous than merely talking on a cell phone while driving. To Text requires three discrete processes: Cognitive (thinking), Manual (finger use) and Visual (seeing).  Contrast that with Cell phone use, especially hands-free calling, which is Cognitive and Auditory (hearing). Because hands remain on the wheel and eyes can remain on the road, it is safer, though still not recommended. 

This is why many States, including Tennessee, now ban texting and driving, but do allow cell phone use.

T.C.A. § 55–8–199 provides: “No person while driving a motor vehicle on any public road or highway shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held personal digital assistant to transmit or read a written message; provided, that a driver does not transmit or read a written message for the purpose of this subsection (b) if the driver reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in a hand-held mobile telephone or a personal digital assistant for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call.”

It is becoming common in my cases for both sides to seek the phone records of the other driver in car accident cases. Since the phone company usually preserves texts, every word (or abbreviation) will one day be discussed in court. 
Imagine looking across the courtroom at a family devastated by loss, and an injury lawyer like me displays on power point your last text before the impact: “LOL.”

Car accidents can happen to even careful drivers.
I commend to you the website set up by AT&T called for more information.
Please talk to your teens about this important subject!  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Stay safer in a broken world

As a Christian and an injury lawyer, I see the effects everyday of this broken world that the Bible variously characterizes as corrupt and under a curse.  
I was confronted recently with a surprising new example of how the corrupt world is changing our lives.  I was visiting someone in Germantown, one of our most affluent areas, when I noticed a security car sitting in a driveway.  I asked a neighbor why the fellow was sitting in the car. The neighbor causally replied, “They have a funeral today.”
I stood there, trying to understand how the fact of a funeralthat day had anything to do with security guardThey explained, as if I was from a foreign land, that in Germantown when a funeral, or even a wedding announcement, is made in the paper, security is posted at the families addresses as criminals know no one will be home.
I was surprised. Turns out, I should not have been. Funeral announcements, I have since learned, are a treasure trove for thieves. They get the address of the deceased that will be vacant now, and the names of local close family members that will be at the funeral at a given time!  
It gets worse. They can steal from you without even being in your state.  Any internet-connected computer or phone can look up any obituary anywhere, and obtain details likethe mother’s maiden name of the deceased. Then, these criminals can open credit and spend money online in the deceased name for the week or two it takes to be notified of the death.
So what to do? Some people have stopped listing much in the way of detail in obituaries, while others even invite people to attend the service online. Some post family or friends at the house, hire house sitters, or at least park lots of cars in the driveway. When we travel, we always have missionary families or others stay at our home, so it’s never empty.
Thieves online can gain all kinds of information about your location from you. Most of us have location services on our phones. Also, many folks’ postings on Facebook,Foursquare and Twitter list their location or post photographs ("I'm on a two-week cruise! Be back on the 28th"). This is an announcement to the world that their home is unoccupied and an easy mark for a burglar.
Newspapers being put on hold for a week is another thing people to do protect themselves so their home looks occupied. However, that can even backfire if the employees use that information to know you are gone. Cruise line employees have arranged to have folks break into the vacant home of those sailing with their line.
It’s a broken world with a lot of broken people. Being aware of the problem is the first step to staying safer.