Texas Has a Distracted Driving Problem
Anyone who has driven on Texas roads knows that distracted driving has become a serious problem. It's hard to drive more than a mile or two without seeing at least one and quite possibly several drivers either talking away on a cell phone or with their heads jerking up and down as they switch between looking up at traffic and down at the device on which they’re typing a text message that apparently can't wait until the next rest stop. As a result of this behavior, you've probably seen their vehicles swerving slightly. If you’re lucky, that’s all you saw.
If you have a sneaking suspicion that the problem of distracted driving is a common and dangerous one, your suspicions are borne out by statistics.
To show how widespread the problem is, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2011, 69 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 64 admitted to researchers that they had talked on their phone at least once in the previous 30 days, while another 31 percent said they had either sent or read a text message during the same period.
Statistics also show that the danger is real. According to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in 2014 Texas roadways saw 100,825 accidents involving a driver who was distracted, resulting in 3,214 serious injuries and 468 fatalities. In all, one out of every five Texas crashes involves a driver who was distracted.
When a driver is distracted, they may not see other drivers on the road, and they may not be able to react quickly enough when approaching a vehicle or hazard up ahead. They may also break basic driving rules and run a traffic light or stop sign or fail to yield right of way.
Texas Distracted Driving Laws
Texas has passed some laws designed to deal with the threat. For example, state law prohibits drivers 18 or under from using any cell phone while driving, while those with a learner's permit are prohibited from using any handheld cell phone while driving for at least the first year. All drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in marked school crossing zones and school bus operators are prohibited from using them while children are present on the bus.
Obviously, given the statistics, it’s necessary for the state to do more. To date, Texas doesn't yet have a statewide ban on texting for all drivers, although at last count, 40 cities in the state have enacted such a ban, including Austin, San Antonio and Amarillo.
If a driver violates any state or local law regarding distracted driving, they may be considered negligent per se, which means they will be considered negligent without the plaintiff having to prove it. However, even if the driver wasn't violating a traffic law, it's still possible to obtain compensation from that driver if they were distracted and that distraction caused an accident in which you were injured, by proving that the driver was operating the vehicle below the reasonable driver standard of care.
Contact Blizzard & Nabers For Assistance With Your Motor Vehicle Accident Claims
If you or a loved one have been injured in a vehicle crash involving a distracted driver, the highly experienced Texas distracted driving lawyers at Blizzard & Nabers can help you understand the case, and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation as soon as possible.