Whether taking off for a quick errand or leaving on a long road trip, many Americans find it essential to bring their cellphones with them when traveling. Having a cellphone handy in case of an emergency is ideal; however, those who choose to use their cellular devices while driving may be involved in a devastating car accident. It takes just a split second of reaching for a cellphone or replying to a text for a driver to create a life-changing car accident.
In Texas, it happens all too often. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, nearly 95,000 car accidents were caused by distracted drivers in 2013. Over 18,500 of those accidents resulted in people being severely injured and 459 people were killed. The distracted driving phenomenon is not limited to Texas. Over 421,000 people nationwide have been injured in distracted driving car accidents, as reported by distraction.gov. Texas officials are investigating different ways of decreasing these alarming statistics.
TEXAS CELLPHONE LAWS
Currently, Texas has a primary law making it illegal for novice drivers and bus drivers to talk on any type of cellphone or text while driving, according to distraction.gov. It is also illegal for motorists to use handheld cellphones or text while driving in school zones. Any motorist caught engaging in illegal cellphone activities may be pulled over by a law enforcement officer and ticketed, even if they haven’t committed any other driving offenses.
The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that 13 states ban the use of handheld cellphones while driving for all motorists and 44 states ban texting while driving for all motorists. Since Texas has yet to enact a law restricting these practices for all motorists, many citizens and organizations are urging Texas officials to consider doing so.
DISTRACTED DRIVING PRODUCES NEGLIGENT MOTORISTS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as a situation where a motorist’s participation in another activity takes their focus off of the task of driving. Distractions are not limited to cellphone use while driving. There are a host of other activities that can result in a driver diverting their attention away from the road. According to the CDC, distractions can be classified as visual, manual and cognitive.
DISTRACTION.GOV LISTS THE FOLLOWING TASKS AS MOTORIST DISTRACTIONS:
- Programming a navigation device.
- Talking to other passengers in the car.
- Eating and drinking.
- Changing a CD or radio channel.
- Looking in the mirror.
Cellphone use and texting is especially dangerous as it is classified as a manual, visual and cognitive distraction.
WHEN TO CALL AN ATTORNEY
Being involved in a distracted driving car accident can lead to severe medical injuries, including permanent spinal cord injuries and brain damage. It may be overwhelming for people to deal with the fact that their life is forever changed due to the negligence of another driver. Many car accident victims find it extremely helpful to seek counsel from a personal injury attorney. An attorney can review your case and determine whether you are eligible for compensation.