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gracemichael
02-19-2010, 08:08 PM
I am wrestling with the details of my MC's car accident. The accident kills the other driver. I think MC had just hung up the phone before the accident happened. He didn't run any lights or stop signs, but on a straight stretch of road collided with a car turning onto the road from a side street. Would the police investigate to see if he was on the phone? I know that if a lawsuit was filed, the cell phone records would be requested, but just as matter of course, would police look into that?

Tors
02-19-2010, 08:57 PM
the police would look into every detail. if a death has been caused it would be very thorough.

the addster
02-19-2010, 09:11 PM
I'm not sure. I actually knew some one who was killed like that, there was no investigation of the other driver. That one was the fault of my poor old dead aunt, who pulled out in front of the other car. They might investigate if your MC didn't try to stop or avoid the car though. Some of that may depend on if there are 'distracted driver' laws in the state.

dirtsider
02-19-2010, 09:39 PM
Is there a 'no cell phone while driving' law in the state where the accident takes place? The police might look into it if there is.

jclarkdawe
02-19-2010, 10:06 PM
What makes the police think the driver was on the cell phone? They're not going to ask for the records just on a whim.

And the phone records would then be compared against the car's black box. Newer cars' computers are going to show exactly when the air bags deployed. Some will actually show the speed. What you're looking for is cross-referencing the two. The fact that someone was on the cell ten minutes before the accident is not important, and even a minute before the accident isn't too important (in 60 seconds, at 30 mph the car will travel one half mile). Now if he disconnected ten seconds before the accident, yeah, he was probably distracted.

The state's cell phone law would determine whether the driver was reckless, in that violation of a travel ordinance that results in an accident is considered evidence of reckless behavior. For example, same accident description on a road where the speed limit is 30 mph. First driver is going the speed limit, second driver is going 40 mph. The speed is evidence that the second driver was acting recklessly. (I'm being very simplistic here.)

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

PeterL
02-19-2010, 10:20 PM
I tend to agree with the Addster. They would investigate until there was a determination of fault. If a car pulls into a road unsafely, then that driver is at fault, and there would be no need to continue the investigation.

waylander
02-20-2010, 12:38 AM
Where is this taking place?

gracemichael
02-20-2010, 02:28 AM
Accident takes place in Kentucky which doesn't have a no-cell-phone law that I'm aware of yet. I'm not 100% certain that he will be on the phone ... I would like him to be distracted somehow. Preferably, something that would not be really obvious at first to police ... the guilt over what he had done plays a very important role. I would like something where he eventually turns himself in to the police, admitting that he is at fault. Not sure if that makes sense or not ... which is probably why I'm wrestling with it so much!! :Shrug:

cbenoi1
02-20-2010, 04:07 AM
A few ideas other than the phone:

A beer bottle stuck under the brake pedal.
Non-working wipers and the driver has to stick his/her head out in pouring rain.
Dropping a hot liquid on the lap.
Turning on the radio when it has been previously set at high volume.
Fumbling to change the tape/CD.
Reading a novel (believe me, I've seen it!).
Trying to setup the GPS.
Reading a map.

-cb

blacbird
02-20-2010, 04:21 AM
I am wrestling with the details of my MC's car accident. The accident kills the other driver. I think MC had just hung up the phone before the accident happened. He didn't run any lights or stop signs, but on a straight stretch of road collided with a car turning onto the road from a side street. Would the police investigate to see if he was on the phone? I know that if a lawsuit was filed, the cell phone records would be requested, but just as matter of course, would police look into that?

Quite likely they would check into cell phone usage in a fatality crash. It's pretty easy to do these days, and they can get both times of calls and a good estimate of location from the cell phone towers recorded.

caw

Chris P
02-20-2010, 04:31 AM
Typically the car going straight has the right of way, and the accident would be the turning car's fault. I doubt they would request cell phone records as a matter of course, unless they had reason to think that the accident could be avoided or had other reasons to suspect something.

gracemichael
02-20-2010, 07:40 AM
Thanks all for the great advice! I think I've decided to have him hit-and-run. Still going to have him on the cell phone but the hit-and-run gives him something to have to turn himself in to police.

jclarkdawe
02-20-2010, 08:04 AM
One thing I should have mentioned about cell phone records, but I didn't because I figured it was understood. The police would need a search warrant to obtain the records, unless the driver consented for them to be released. Unless the police have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, sufficient to satisfy a judge, they're not going to get a warrant, and without the warrant, no phone company is going to fork over the information.

There's been a couple of big lawsuits against companies like Verizon and AT&T for providing information to the government under various terrorist statutes. They don't need more problems.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

RJK
02-20-2010, 10:05 PM
Your scenario leaves the other driver at fault. If you want your driver to be at fault, have the other driver stop in the roadway to let someone out. Your driver is on the phone, your driver doesn't notice until too late, and hits him in the back end, injuring or killing the person exiting the first car. Your driver panics and drives off.

RobinGBrown
02-22-2010, 12:40 PM
My father once had the door knocked off a car as he was opening it, if he'd had a leg out when it happened he would have been fatally injured. The other driver didn't stop.

If you want your MC to feel guilty it should be a situation where they are actually at (some) fault.

benbradley
02-23-2010, 01:32 AM
What makes the police think the driver was on the cell phone? They're not going to ask for the records just on a whim.

And the phone records would then be compared against the car's black box. Newer cars' computers are going to show exactly when the air bags deployed. Some will actually show the speed. What you're looking for is cross-referencing the two. The fact that someone was on the cell ten minutes before the accident is not important, and even a minute before the accident isn't too important (in 60 seconds, at 30 mph the car will travel one half mile). Now if he disconnected ten seconds before the accident, yeah, he was probably distracted.
Cell phones' time and date (and the records of the system) are accurate to a fraction of a second. I don't know about the new auto "black boxes" or even if they record date and time (I've done embedded programming and know something about these things, so I had to look). Here's some info:

http://www.injurysciences.com/Documents/NPCCRS.pdf

I don't see anything about it having or recording date and time of an accident or event, and the only mention of time is for short relative times, events that happen within seconds of each other.

To be accurate, it has to have a receiver for cell tower signals, GPS, or the WWVH signal used by "atomic clocks." It may include a real-time clock much like a personal computer or wrist watch, but those can drift several seconds per month, and I wouldn't presume they're accurate to within a second unless it's been set within the last 24 hours.

If a case like your scenario gets brought to someone's attention, they may require the thing have such a receiver to keep the time accurate.