At least one person has been killed on Texas roads every day for the last 21 years. November 7, 2000, was the last day when no one died on Texas roads. Given the blatant rise in the use of mobile forms of technology by drivers, this unwanted streak will be hard to end.
Distracted driving is now a national epidemic. Distracted driving involves any activity that diverts your attention from the task of safe driving. It includes talking or texting on the phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in the vehicle, fiddling with the radio, or using navigation systems.
SOME STARTLING FACTS AND STATISTICS ON DISTRACTED DRIVING.
Distracted driving is associated with some startling facts and is responsible for some horrifying statistics. Some of these include: –
- In 2019, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in the United States.
- 7% of all car crashes fatalities in the country were due to distracted driving in 2019.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25% of distracted drivers injured in fatal crashes are between the ages of 20 and 29.
- Distracted driving is responsible for about 280,000 injuries per year in the United States.
- According to the NHTSA, 660,000 drivers in the country use electronic devices and gadgets while driving.
- About 9 people are killed every day due to crashes involving a distracted driver.
- Every year, distracted drivers are responsible for about 2.5 million car crashes in the country.
- Over 1000 people are injured every day in crashes caused by distracted drivers.
- Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to lead to a car accident than drunk driving.
- Parents with young children are more likely to be distracted while driving than adults without children in their cars.
- A study has revealed that it takes the brain 13 seconds to refocus after using a cell phone.
- Reaching for an object increases the chances of a car crash by about 8 times.
- Women are more likely to text and drive compared to men.
- Distracted driving is not only dangerous, but it can also cost you dearly too. A crash or a ticket caused by distracted driving can increase insurance premiums by over $220.
- Texting and driving cause 1 out of 4 car crashes in the country.
- A study undertaken by Zebra to understand the habits of US drivers revealed that:
- 6% of drivers texted while driving.
- 5% of drivers ate while driving.
- 7% of drivers took selfies or photographs.
- 5% of drivers applied make-up while driving.
- 34% of drivers consumed alcohol while driving.
- 1% of drivers between the ages of 25 to 34 felt a high pressure to respond to text messages while driving.
- According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in 2020, nearly one in five crashes on Texas roads was caused by a distracted driver of which 367 people died and 2,205 were seriously injured.
- Distracted driving is the second-most common cause of car accidents in Texas, second only to speeding.
- In Dallas-Fort Worth, drivers spent an average of just over 9% of their driving time using a phone.
TYPES OF DISTRACTIONS.
Anything that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road is a distraction. These distractions can be categorized Into three types:-
- AUDITORY DISTRACTIONS.
Auditory distractions are sounds that cause attention to shift, like listening to music or conversations among passengers.
- VISUAL DISTRACTIONS.
Distractions cause a driver to take his or her eyes off the road. These include,
- Looking at the phone screen.
- Use vanity mirror to check appearance or for the purpose of self-grooming.
- Looking behind at unsecured children or pets in the backseat.
- MANUAL DISTRACTIONS.
Distractions involve a driver taking his hands or hand off the steering wheel. These include,
- Texting, talking, or calling on the phone.
- Eating, drinking, or smoking while driving.
- Adjusting radio or mirrors.
- Using a navigation system.
- Rummaging through personal belongings.
- Grooming oneself while driving.
- Looking at Billboard advertisements.
- Engaging on social media Apps on the phone while driving.
- COGNITIVE DISTRACTIONS.
Distractions that take a driver’s mind off the road. These include,
- Listening to loud music.
- Having a conversation with passengers in the car.
DISTRACTED DRIVING LAWS IN TEXAS.
In Texas, distracted driving is defined as ‘any activity that takes your attention away from driving’. Texting while driving has been banned in Texas since 2017. The use of phones is still legal state-wide, but many cities including Dallas have banned phone use of all kinds.
While driving in Texas:
- You cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving in Texas.
- Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using cell phones in the first six months of driving.
- Using any hand-held device in your vehicle in a school zone is illegal.
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices.
- School bus drivers may not use cell phones at all while driving if children are present.
PROVING LIABILITY IN DALLAS DISTRACTED DRIVING CASES.
Distracted driving is a form of negligence. Negligence is defined as “Failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person.”
To prove negligence, the plaintiff (the injured party) must establish beyond reasonable doubt the following four main elements: –
- The defendant (the accused party) owed the plaintiff a reasonable duty of care.
All drivers owe a duty of care towards other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others on the roadway when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
- Defendant breached his or her duty of care.
The breach of care by the defendant is the crux of the personal injury law. It is the plaintiff’s burden of proof to convince the judge or jury that there was a breach of care committed by the defendant.
- The breach of duty by Defendant caused the accident.
It is not enough to show that Defendant was negligent, careless or distracted, it has to be established beyond reasonable doubt that his or her act of negligence was the main cause of the car crash.
- The accident caused compensable damages.
The plaintiff has to establish that he or she suffered damages due to the breach of duty by Defendant. Damages may include physical injury, pain and injury, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and/or property damage.
When an accident occurs, it must be proved who was at fault. The insurance company claim’s adjuster usually determines this by reviewing all available evidence such as police reports, witness testimonies, medical records, and photographs of the wreck.
If you do not agree with the insurance company’s assignment of fault, you may speak to a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer who can put together a solid case on your behalf to challenge the decision.
Dallas Car accident attorneys at our firm regularly obtain the following evidence to establish liability and damages in Dallas distracted driving accident cases:
- Cell phone records showing phone calls and text messages made and received. Obtaining cellphone records can be complicated, but with a court-ordered subpoena, a car accident lawyer can obtain call records of an at-fault driver.
- Police reports.
- Medical reports and medical expenses for past and future treatment.
- Photographs of the scene of the accident.
- Reports from treating physicians regarding the nature of injuries and medical treatment.
- Information on the negligent driver’s insurance company.
To build a strong case, it is essential to seek assistance from an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer who is also an expert at valuing and filing your claim.
TIPS TO AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING.
Some measures to help you drive more safely include:-
- Always be courteous to others on the road.
- Use your cell phone for emergency purposes only. Turn off your notifications before you start to drive. It is in your best interests to pull off the road safely if you have to make an emergency call.
- Drivers should never multi-task while driving. This includes texting, making video calls or posting on social media while driving.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving. Finishing your meals on the way to work or school may seem a time-saver, but it leads to you being less attentive to the other drivers around you. Food spills are a major cause of driver distraction.
- Drivers should never dress or groom while driving. One should do so prior to getting behind the wheel.
- Drivers should keep their eyes on the road and avoid looking at eye-catching billboards or beautiful scenery while driving. One should pull off the road and stop at a safe spot to admire the scenery and click photographs.
- Drive according to conditions, slow down when weather conditions are bad.
- Stop for all stop signs and red lights, and pass carefully when it’s legal and safe.
- Never drive drowsy. Drowsy drivers should pull off the road and find a safe place to rest.
- Driving with clutter all over your vehicle is a recipe for distractions. Drivers should store items in proper compartments and should not reach for them while driving.
- Drivers should set GPS, climate control, and adjust mirrors and seats before starting their journey.
- Tell friends, family, and co-workers that you won’t respond to calls or texts when you are behind the wheel.
- Slow down or move out of the way of a law enforcement vehicle, emergency vehicle, tow-truck, or a TxDOT vehicle that may stop along the side of the road.
CONTACT A DALLAS DISTRACTED DRIVING ACCIDENT LAWYER AT THE LAW OFFICES OF DOROTHY HYDE.
Experienced Dallas Car Accident attorney Dorothy Hyde is passionate about protecting the rights of the injured and the wronged. She provides vigorous representation to ensure that negligent drivers are held accountable for their actions.
If you or your loved one has been a victim of a distracted driving accident anywhere in Dallas, you deserve to be duly compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages.
As most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, you are not required to pay until we have won your case.
Call an experienced Distracted Driving Accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.