By now, all of us have heard the phrase “distracted driving,” but not everyone knows what that can include. The most common form of distracted driving involves using a smartphone or other mobile device while driving, but any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road falls under the distracted driving umbrella. This can include eating, drinking, talking to passengers, changing the radio station, putting on makeup, and more. The results of engaging in these seemingly benign behaviors are catastrophic and deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving behaviors caused at least 3,142 motor vehicle-related fatalities in 2019 alone. In 2018, over 400,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted driving. The risks of texting and driving alone are severe enough to merit a closer look.
Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for at least five full seconds. If the driver is driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour, that can mean they are not looking at the road in front of them for a duration equal to the length of an entire football field. It doesn’t matter if you look up frequently during that time or if you’ve stopped at a red light; it takes about three seconds for your mind to focus again after you’ve checked your phone. There simply isn’t enough time to text and drive.
While there is currently no nationwide ban on texting or using a wireless phone while driving, in Texas, we have laws in place to combat the risks of texting and driving. Texas has a handheld ban in school crossing zones and on public school property. Both school bus drivers carrying minor passengers and novice drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using cell phones while driving. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, all drivers are banned from texting and driving in Texas.
Dangers of Using a Cell Phone and Driving
Today’s cell phones or smartphones do more than just make phone calls – they allow users to text, take pictures and videos, use roadway navigation, and do many more tasks. Texting on your cell phone is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving because it requires so much of a driver’s attention – looking at the phone, thinking about what to type, and taking one or both hands off of the steering wheel to engage in texting and driving. Some drivers think that since they use their cell phones so much, they can text and drive safely; however, no one is “good” at texting and driving at the same time and innocent victims are injured or killed because of these decisions every day.
Drivers aged 16 to 24 are the most likely to use a handheld device while driving; and, since they are less experienced drivers, they are also likely to cause more collisions, injuries, and even deaths. NHTSA estimates nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured daily in incidents reported as distraction-related crashes in the United States.
Texting and driving increase a driver’s risks in the following ways:
- One in four car accidents are caused by texting and driving
- Truck drivers are 23 times more likely to crash when texting behind the wheel
- Driver distraction was a factor in 18% of all injury-causing accidents
- Teens are four times more likely to get into crashes due to cell phone distractions than older drivers and 3,000 teens die in crashes caused by texting while driving each year – the leading cause of death among American teenagers
- Texting while driving involves all three types of distracted driving – visual, manual, and cognitive distractions
- Using a phone is the number one source of driver distraction
- Cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year
- 48% of young drivers have seen their parents text while driving
- Using a cell phone while driving delays the driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of 0.08 percent
Houston Texting and Driving Car Accident Lawyers
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t text and drive due to safety concerns – both for you and your passengers and for others on or near the roadways on which you travel. If you or someone you care about was injured in a car accident and texting and driving were involved, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. All initial consultations with the legal team of Adame Garza are free and confidential. We are happy to speak with you by phone, meet with you at one of our two office locations, or come to you if you are unable to travel due to your injuries or other reasons. Contact us today for more information about your legal rights and how we can help you recover.