The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents blamed on distracted drivers in 2017 alone. Nine percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver and talking or text messaging on a cellphone accounted for the most common kind of distraction with 14 percent of distracted driving fatalities.
In total, 599 accident victims were not in the same vehicle as to the distracted driver, including bicyclists and pedestrians. If you or a family member has been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, please contact our attorneys today to set up a free consultation and learn about your legal rights.
What Are Houston’s Distracted Driving Laws?
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) states that:
- People cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving in Texas.
- All drivers under 18 years of age are prohibited from using wireless communications devices while on the road.
- School bus operators cannot use cellphones while driving when children are present.
- All drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving in school zones.
Why Does Houston Lead the Nation in Distracted Driving?
Texas did not enact a distracted driving law until 2017. In April 2019, TxDOT reported that Texas leads the nation in traffic deaths and at least one person has been killed on Texas roads every day since November 7, 2000, The Texas Tribune reported.
Texas was 10th-best among the 50 states in the percentage of time people spend on their phones while driving (7.23 percent), but drivers in Houston (9.44 percent) and Dallas-Fort Worth (9.23 percent) were on their phones the most, the Texas Monthly reported based on a study by the traffic analytics and data firm ZenDrive. These percentages even exceeded the measurements for major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Tips for Being a Better Driver
While many people believe they are good at multitasking, the truth is that multitasking usually means a person accomplishes two tasks with less success than they would have by handling each task independently. When you are driving, your focus should always be on the road.
Some tips you should keep in mind include:
- Limit your cellphone use to emergencies.
- Discourage passengers from distracting you or limit your number of passengers.
- Try to eat and drink outside of the vehicle.
- Do all of your grooming and preparation before getting into the vehicle.
- Secure child passengers before leaving.
When something demands your attention, pull over to resolve it instead of trying to handle it while you are driving.
What Are the Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents?
While smartphones are an increasingly dangerous distraction, using a phone is certainly not the only way that a driver can become distracted behind the wheel. Other commonly cited distractions include:
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting stereo or climate controls
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
Distractions may be visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel), or cognitive (taking your mind off of driving). Text messaging and emails on cellphones are commonly regarded as the most dangerous because the activity involves all three of these kinds of distractions.
Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Now
If you suffered severe injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver in the greater Houston area, contact a personal injury attorney right away. An experienced lawyer can quickly commence an independent investigation to secure evidence of the distraction.