We have all been behind someone at a traffic light using their phone and fails to go when the light turns green. Cell phone use, even when stopped, is a form of distracted driving.
While advanced safety technology has improved cars and reduced fatalities over the years, the incidences of distracted driving have significantly increased, particularly over the past ten years.
Nine Lives are Lost Every Day From Distracted Driving
The increase is likely due to the increased use of smartphones for calling and texting. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day in the U.S., about nine people lose their lives due to distracted driving, and there are over 1,000 people hurt in car wrecks that involve distracted driving.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is categorized into several classifications. These include:
● Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
● Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
● Cognitive – Taking your mind off driving
Examples of Distractions While Driving
Some examples of distracted driving include texting, using a cell phone, eating, reading, talking or arguing with passengers, caring for a child, changing the radio station, and putting on makeup.
Texting is one of the most extreme forms of distraction because it checks all the boxes of distraction categories.
How Dangerous is Texting While Driving?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that when driving at 55 MPH, sending or reading a text will take your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. This length of time is enough to travel the distance of a football field. You can easily see how an accident could be more apt to occur under these conditions.
Cell Phone Ordinances in Texas
Texas law prohibits the use of cell phones or other handheld devices under some conditions while driving. Drivers cannot text while they are behind the wheel, and they may not read or write emails while driving.
New drivers with learner’s permits can use no handheld device during their first six months of driving. All drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices in school zones, and school bus operators cannot use a cell phones when children are on the bus.
Besides, local municipalities may have specific ordinances and restrictions that apply to cell phone use.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
Laws alone are not enough to prevent distracted driving. Take precautions to ensure that you do not allow yourself to become distracted when you drive.
Put your phone away while you drive, and if you need to use it, pull over. Do not eat or drink while you are driving. Teach teens safe driving habits and prohibit them from using their phones when they drive. Parents can place controls on their teen’s cell phone use.
Do not get behind the wheel if you are fatigued or if you have been drinking.
What to Do If You Are In Accident With a Distracted Driver?
If you suspect the driver who caused the accident was distracted, it is helpful to document the matter. The following can help your claim:
- Statements from the driver like “I am sorry I was on the phone” are important admissions.
- Seeing the driver on the phone.
- Witnesses who saw cell phone use by the driver at the moment of impact.
- Obtain the name and phone number of any witness.
If possible, shoot a video on your cellphone of the other driver’s response. Always take photographs of the vehicles and crash site- if you are able.
If You Were Injured in the Crash
Always get appropriate and needed medical care. Looking after your health is your number one priority.
Review your own insurance policy to see if you have benefits that you can take advantage of like rental car coverage or PIP.
Keep all paperwork related to your medicare care from the accident.
Call the Best Houston Car Accident Lawyer You Can Find
If you or a loved one were hurt as the result of a distracted driver, you might have compensation for your damages. The negligent driver may owe you money for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more. Contact an experienced car accident attorney at Baumgartner Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident.