Distracted driving is dangerous. It puts the safety and lives of the driver and others at risk. Yet despite this, many people still engage in such behavior.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in 2019, 97,853 of the 561,582 car accidents that year were caused by a distracted driver. Around 380 of those collisions resulted in deaths and 2,500 in serious injuries. That's substantial harm that could have been prevented had the driver not been distracted while behind the wheel.
Thus, distracted driving, including texting while driving, affects the health and lives of thousands of people each year.
Texting While Driving: The Worst Form of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is any activity that takes a motorist's attention away from driving.
Specifically, distracted driving involves:
- Manual distraction
- Visual distraction
- Cognitive distraction
There are many forms of distracted driving, such as eating, changing radio stations, or talking to passengers.
Although there are several types of distracted driving, one of the worst is texting.
This activity causes a driver to engage in all three distractions:
- Manual distraction: The driver must pick up or manipulate their phone.
- Visual distraction: The driver must have their eyes on their phone's screen.
- Cognitive distraction: The driver must read and understand the message or think about their response.
These distractions can happen fairly quickly, but that doesn't mean texting while driving isn't dangerous. Just a 5-second glance at a phone can life-altering consequences. Driving at 55 mph, that's enough time to travel the length of a football field. Any number of people or objects – a bicyclist, pedestrian, another vehicle, or wall – can go unnoticed in front of the driver while they're busy reading or composing their text.
In Texas, 3,742 car accidents were caused by people using cell phones while driving in 2019. Of those, 778 resulted from texting while driving, and it accounted for 11 fatal and 144 injury-causing crashes.
Sadly, the news is filled with stories about people being killed in accidents caused by someone who was on their phone during their trip. For instance, a pickup truck driver in Texas, who admitted to texting while behind the wheel, crossed the center line and hit a church bus, killing 13 people. In another incident, a 2-year-old girl was hit by a car in a parking lot because the driver was looking at her phone instead of the road.
Texas's Law on Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is risky, as well as illegal. In 2017, Texas legislatures passed a law that prohibited this activity.
The statute provides that the following are banned:
- Sending or receiving electronic messages
- Using a cell phone for the first 6 months of driving – applies to drivers with permits
- Using wireless communications devices – applies to drivers under 18 years of age
- Using cell phones when children are present – applies to school bus drivers
- Using cell phones in school zones – applies to all drivers
Unfortunately, although the law exists, people still text while driving, which puts the lives of many at risk.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact our Denton personal injury attorneys at Goline & Roland Law Firm by calling (940) 400-0475 today. We'll fight toward recovering just compensation on your behalf.