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Are You Being Punished for Not Having a Cell Phone?

The new Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department policy of not responding to non-injury traffic accidents has met with negative feedback from most of the public. However, a new problem has now emerged at the beginning of the Metro's instructions to motorists. One of the first things drivers are told to do before turning in a claim to their insurance companies is to: “Take a picture, if it is safe to do so, to visually document the damage.” This statement makes a rather arrogant assumption that everyone who is involved in an accident both has a cell phone and that the phone has the ability to take pictures. According to research by the Pew Research Center in 2013, at least nine percent of Americans do not own any type of cell phone at all, and up to 35 percent do not have a phone with the capability of taking clear, sharp pictures for the purposes of turning into an insurance company. This means that up to one-third of all drivers involved in crashes may not be able to follow the Metro Police Department's instructions. Furthermore, this disparity is more evident in certain age groups. About 80 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 have "smart phones," while only half the population at large is so equipped. The older generation of drivers, those 65 years of age and older, are least likely to have a smart phone or to know how to use the features of one. Ironically, a law that is meant to protect the citizens of Las Vegas is actually harming the group that texts and talks on phones the least, rather than those who may cause an accident through distracted driving. Furthermore, the poor and least educated people of all ages in Las Vegas are least likely to have access to this technology or to use it effectively. Finally, even though who are relatively adept at taking photos with a cell phone and who have the latest gadgets may not be able to construct a cohesive pictorial narrative after a car accident. If you have been involved in a crash of any type, it is possible you may be entitled to damages for your injuries. Contact Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas if you have questions about your rights following an accident or if you want to learn more about how you may be able to collect compensation.