Distracted driving in Texas is on the rise and comes in many forms. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 17.4% of car crashes (97,853) on Texas roads involved distracted drivers in 2019. Out of those 97,853 distracted driving car accidents, 2,500 resulted in serious injuries and 378 people died. As of September 1, 2017, Texas state law prohibits driving while reading, writing, or sending electronic messages on a mobile device – so why is it still so commonplace?
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is doing an activity while you are driving that takes your attention away from the road. There are many possible distractions, all of which affect the time it takes you to react to changes that happen on the road in front and to the sides of your car. Here are the most common types of distracted driving you will see on the road:
This first type of distracted driving is the most common. Being distracted visually means the driver is no longer physically looking at the road ahead of them. They may be looking at their phone while reading or responding to a text, using their car’s GPS, reading a billboard, looking at a car accident as they drive by, or turning around to check on their children. These distractions take the driver’s attention away from the road for an average of five seconds. That means that if they are on the freeway going 55 mph, they will drive the entire length of a football field without looking to see where they are going. Looking away from the road for any amount of time will reduce the time that a driver has to react and significantly increase the chance the driver will get into a car accident.
Sound and noise inside the car can easily distract a driver from focusing on the road. Maybe their car is making a strange mechanical noise or there is a baby crying in the back of the car. Those sounds can easily distract the person driving and turn their attention to somewhere other than the road. They may also not be able to hear emergency sirens around them and can miss seeing a police car or ambulance that needs to get around their vehicle.
A physical distraction happens when the driver does something that physically takes one or both of their hands off the steering wheel of the car. They may be trying to eat or drink in the car, interact with the car’s entertainment system, or reach behind their seat to grab an item. Even if the driver’s eyes are still on the road, they are not physically holding the wheel properly and can easily lose control of the car, drop something that makes them stop abruptly, or have very delayed response times to changes in the road ahead.
Any distractions while driving can have severe consequences. One or more of these distractions combined can cause a devastating car accident. Car accidents can affect not just the driver, but also passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road. Put away any and all items that can cause distraction every time you drive.
Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Houstonians have the right to feel safe driving in their city, and distracted drivers pose a real and serious threat to all who drive in Houston. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed due to a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Houston car accident attorneys at Adame Garza today to discuss your case at no cost.