There is a deadly problem on East Texas roadways, and too many drivers are doing very little to avoid it. The problem is the ever-increasing epidemic of distracted driving.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 1 in 5 deadly crashes on Texas roads are caused by distracted driving. Last year alone, more than 3,000 people were seriously injured and 455 were killed in 109,658 reported crashes.
TxDOT’s “Talk, Text, Crash” campaign is an attempt by the agency to raise awareness about distracted driving and hopefully get people to put away their cell phones and focus on the road.
What Is Distracted Driving?
While most of us understand that texting can be a significant distraction behind the wheel, it is not the only activity that is dangerous to perform when driving. Other extremely common distractions include:
- Checking your email
- Posting to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or other social media profiles
- Drinking a beverage
- Operating a navigation system or looking for directions
- Watching videos
- Interacting with passengers
- Changing the music on in-car stereo systems
Any distraction behind the wheel can put the driver, passengers, and others on the road in danger. It is important to recognize these everyday distractions and make a very real effort to avoid any of these activities while driving. TxDOT recommends a few steps to take to reduce distractions including:
- Put your phone out of reach.
- If you must talk or text, pull over to the side of the road and make a complete stop before communicating with others.
- Let your family, friends, and colleagues know that you are not available to text while you are in transit. Specific apps and settings on newer model phones have auto-response messages that let others know that you are driving and will respond when you reach your destination.
- Focus on the road at all times and make safe driving your No. 1 priority.
What Is Being Done to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents?
This year, the Texas Legislature implemented a statewide ban on electronic messaging on mobile phones. This ban includes texting as well as reading or writing an email while behind the wheel.
The statewide ban does not prevent individuals from talking on their phone while driving, but individual cities and counties have implemented stronger local ordinances that often prohibit drivers from even talking on mobile phones if they are not utilizing the hands-free feature.
How Prevalent Is Distracted Driving?
According to a study of 3 million people by the San Francisco driving data startup Zendrive, Inc., drivers used their cell phones on a full 88% of trips taken. With 80 percent of the population now carrying a smartphone wherever they go, the use of those phones while driving has skyrocketed. These deadly distractions must be curbed.
Another recent study conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and cited on the TxDOT website showed that a driver’s reaction time was doubled if they were distracted by a text message. In addition, sending or receiving a text message meant that the driver spent 4.6 seconds not looking at the road. If the vehicle were traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour, the driver would have essentially traveled an entire football field while blind.
Hopefully, public safety and awareness campaigns like TxDOT’s “Talk, Text, Crash” campaign can help educate people of the dangerous behaviors they are exhibiting behind the wheel. Distracted driving is happening all around us, and deadly collisions are often the final result.
What Are My Rights After a Car Crash Caused by Distracted Driving?
If you are injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you should not have to suffer the consequences without taking legal action. Distracted driving is negligence by definition, and if a distracted driver causes you or someone you love harm, they should be held accountable for their actions. If a person is texting, reading email, eating, or grooming themselves while driving, or engaging in another distraction and they cause an accident, they may be liable for any injuries and property damage that results.
The Longview car accident lawyers at the Sloan Firm are here to help if a distracted driver has hurt you. What matters to you, matters to us. We are dedicated to helping you get back on your feet after an accident, and we firmly believe that you deserve justice if you’ve been harmed by a driver who was not paying attention to the road. It is our mission to seek the fair compensation that you deserve, and we believe in helping our friends and neighbors here in Longview and surrounding areas of East Texas.
If you are hurt in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for:
- Hospital bills
- Therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Wages lost from time off of work
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle damage
- And more
If you lost a loved one in a crash, you do not have to suffer the loss silently. We will aggressively pursue legal action against the responsible party to seek justice. A wrongful death claim against a distracted driver may help you recover:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of companionship (parental services, spousal services, or child services)
- Inheritance loss
- Mental anguish
- Loss of counsel or advice
- And more
You should not have to shoulder the burdens placed on you by an accident that you did not cause. When you work with us, you know that you not only have experience, trial-tested legal advocates on your side, but you have a team that is there for you as counselors and friends. We are committed to standing beside you during this difficult time, and we firmly believe that no one should suffer due to the reckless actions of a person who is distracted behind the wheel.