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cell phone use while driving

Ya sea que esté haciendo trámites o simplemente disfrutando de un viaje en automóvil los domingos, ponerse al volante puede ser extremadamente peligroso si entra en contacto con un conductor distraído. Según la Administración Nacional de Seguridad del Tráfico en las Carreteras (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA), en 2017, los conductores distraídos mataron a 3,166 personas.


Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC) dividen la conducción distraída en tres categorías: visual (apartar la vista de la carretera), manual (apartar las manos del volante) y cognitiva (apartar la mente de la tarea de conducir). Enviar mensajes de texto es una de las actividades más peligrosas que se pueden realizar mientras se conduce, ya que involucra los tres tipos de conducción distraída. Los conductores que envían mensajes de texto mientras conducen apartan la vista de la carretera durante un promedio de cinco segundos completos, el equivalente a conducir la longitud de un campo de fútbol a 55 millas por hora con los ojos vendados. Otras actividades comunes de conducción distraída son comer o beber, hablar con los pasajeros, limpiarse o ajustar algo en el automóvil, como la radio o el GPS.

Si bien a todos les gusta pensar que nunca conducirían de manera tan descuidada, cualquier conductor puede ser susceptible a distracciones mientras conduce. Ciertos tipos de distracciones son más comunes en ciertos grupos etarios. Aunque menudo se piensa que los adolescentes son principalmente los que envían mensajes de texto mientras conducen un vehículo, una encuesta del Centro de Investigaciones Pew llegó a la conclusión de que en realidad los adultos son más propensos a enviar mensajes de texto mientras conducen un vehículo que los adolescentes. Aunque es un poco menos probable que los adolescentes envíen mensajes de texto y conduzcan a la vez, sí provocan el mayor número de muertes relacionadas con la distracción.

Aunque el uso de teléfonos celulares mientras se conduce está prohibido en muchas áreas de Estados Unidos, la regulación de las pantallas táctiles en los automóviles es un tema completamente diferente que aún no se ha abordado. No solo el problema se ignora en su mayoría en estos días, sino que, en cambio, se alienta a los fabricantes de automóviles a incorporar pantallas táctiles en más vehículos de motor. Muchas funciones básicas, como los controles de la radio y el aire acondicionado, ahora requieren que los conductores aparten la vista de la carretera para configurarlas. Las investigaciones han reconocido que las pantallas táctiles pueden distraer a los conductores de cualquier edad; sin embargo, cuando los conductores mayores intentan interactuar con la tecnología, apartan la vista de la carretera durante períodos de tiempo mucho más largos para tratar de resolver las cosas.

Drivers should obviously do what they can to minimize distraction wherever they are, but in some places, it is important to be extra cautious. For example, the conditions of driving in a work zone are already hazardous, with narrow lanes, debris, maquinaria pesada operating, and humans standing on either side of the road. When you factor in a driver taking his or her eyes off of the road and losing focus, the situation quickly becomes more disastrous for everyone. School zones and anywhere a large number of peatones are present are other places in which drivers must be vigilant.

Cuando un conductor se distrae mientras conduce, se pone en riesgo a sí, a los pasajeros y a otros conductores. Los conductores siempre deben guardar sus teléfonos y dispositivos o ponerlos en un modo de conducción seguro cuando conducen un vehículo. Si se necesita usar el GPS, los destinos deben ingresarse antes de que comience el viaje. Si un conductor necesita usar su dispositivo, debe detenerse o pedirle ayuda a un pasajero.

La triste realidad es que conducir distraído puede ser tan peligroso como conducir alcoholizado. En 2015, hubo más de 290,000 lesiones causadas por conductores alcoholizados y 391,000 lesiones causadas por conducir distraído, o un 34 % más de lesiones causadas por conducir distraído que por conducir alcoholizado. Si bien las acciones son diferentes, existen muchas similitudes entre las dos. Tanto la conducción en estado de ebriedad como la conducción distraída provocan una pérdida de concentración en la carretera y ambas tienen consecuencias potencialmente fatales. Los investigadores recomiendan implementar leyes y políticas más estrictas para el uso de teléfonos celulares mientras se conduce un vehículo y una mejor educación pública sobre el tema.

Car accidents caused by distracted drivers can cause devastating injuries like:

  • lesiones de cuello y espalda
  • traumatismos craneoencefálico (TCE)
  • parálisis
  • fractura de huesos
  • laceraciones
  • esguince cervical
  • muerte

Severe injuries could require months or years of additional surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and/or specialized medical equipment. In addition to the cost of medical treatment, many victims are unable to go back to work and suffer lost wages. Drivers who cause an accident because they were distracted, should be held accountable for their negligence.


Frequently Asked Questions About Distracted Driving

What is Texas distracted driving law?

In Texas, distracted driving is considered any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This can include tasks such as texting on a cell phone, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, putting on makeup, reading, changing the radio station, shaving, watching a video, or programming a GPS system. While many of these distractions are not illegal, they present significant hazards and should be minimized or completely avoided while driving. Texas state laws regarding distracted driving focus mainly on the risk of texting while driving, however, the Texas Department of Transportation states that, “the safest policy is to drive now and use your cell phone later. If you must make a phone call or send a text, pull over. Otherwise wait until you reach your destination to use the phone.”

Is texting and driving illegal in Texas?

Texting while driving is illegal everywhere in Texas. This law was passed in 2017 and made Texas the 47th state to ban texting while driving. Some cities are more restrictive and ban all cellphone use while driving. The current distracted driving law prohibits the following:

  • “Electronic messaging,” which includes texting, emailing, and instant messaging using a cell phone
  • Drivers under the age of 18 from using any type of wireless communication devices while driving
  • Drivers over the age of 18 with learner’s permits from using wireless communication devices in their first six months of driving
  • School bus drivers from using cell phones while driving whenever children are present
  • Drivers from using handheld communication devices in school crossing zones
Can you text at a red light in Texas?

Your car does not have to be moving for you to receive a ticket for texting while driving in Texas. Even when stopped at a red light, you are still operating your vehicle and should not use your cell phone. Texting while stopped at a red light is still very dangerous. You may not realize that the light has turned green and could be rear-ended if you stay stopped. Or, if the car in front of you moves forward a little bit, and you see them out of the corner of your eye while texting on your phone, you may put your foot on the gas and could rear-end someone thinking the light turned green. Never text while driving, even when stopped at a red light.

What are the types of distracted driving?

There are three main types of driving distractions that most drivers will participate in at some point:

  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road ahead and looking at something else
  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel to use a device or pick something up
  • Cognitive – when your mind focuses on something other than driving and the road ahead

Some driving distractions can be categorized into multiple of the above types. Texting while driving, for example, encompasses all three. When texting and driving, your hands are on your phone, your mind is determining how to respond to the message you received, and your eyes are on your phone. These types of distractions are the most dangerous as they completely take your focus off the road ahead and prevent you from reacting to any sudden changes in traffic.

What are distracted driving statistics?

In the United States, each year distracted drivers cause over 390,000 injuries and nearly 3,500 deaths. At any given moment during daylight hours, almost four percent of all drivers in the United States are using a handheld cell phone. While that percentage may seem low, cell phones are not the only distractions out there. About one in five victims of fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver were not even in a vehicle. These victims were riding their bicycles, walking on a sidewalk, or were otherwise outside of a car and were still killed by a distracted driver.

How many deaths are caused by distracted driving?

Unfortunately, distracted driving is near the top of the list for causing car accidents in Texas. In 2020 alone, there were 364 deaths and 2,200 seriously injured victims of distracted driving car accidents in our state. Currently, distracted driving causes one out of every five car accidents statewide. Countrywide, eight people are killed in car crashes that involve a distracted driver every day.

Abogados de Houston especializados en accidentes por conducción distraída

After a distracted driving car accident, victims can be overwhelmed by the financial burden of medical treatment. An experienced Houston distracted driving accident attorney at Adame Garza LLP can analyze the details of your situation and help you obtain full compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no upfront cost for working with us and you won’t owe us anything unless you obtain compensation.

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