You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases the risks of crashing.
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.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) in partnership with state legislatures and local police leads the national efforts to save lives by preventing the menace of distracted driving. It educates Americans about the dangers of distracted driving and other risky driving behaviors. Many state legislatures have enacted laws against texting, talking on the phone while driving.
Each year, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The NHTSA runs a national advertising campaign to raise awareness about distracted driving. As responsible and concerned citizens, we support this initiative and educate people about the rising menace of distracted driving and measures that can tackle it. It is an epidemic that can be prevented.
STARTLING FACTS AND STATISTICS ON DISTRACTED DRIVING IN HOUSTON.
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.
- In Texas, distracted driving causes almost one-fifth of all vehicle accidents each year.
- 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.
- Texting and driving causes 1 out of 4 car crashes in the country.
PROVING FAULT IN DISTRACTED DRIVING CASES.
Accidents involving distracted driving occur in an instant, but claims seeking compensation for victims of such negligent and careless conduct do not. The injured person must prove to a Judge or jury that the alleged distracted driver was indulging in something else other than keeping his or her eyes on the road ahead.
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.
The 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 the Defendant caused the accident.
It is not enough to show that the 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 the Defendant. Damages may include physical injury, pain and injury, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost wages, loss of quality of life and/or property damage.
To build a strong case, it is necessary to investigate the accident, interview witnesses, thoroughly review accident reports, and hire experts for trial. Therefore, it is advisable to seek assistance from an experienced and committed car accident lawyer who is also an expert at valuing and filing your claim. The highly-skilled distracted driving attorneys at our firm know what it takes to establish that the distracted driver was at fault for your injuries and losses.
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:
1. VISUAL DISTRACTIONS.
Distractions that cause a driver to take his or her eyes off the road. These include,
- Looking at the phone screen.
- Using vanity mirror to check appearance or for the purpose of self-grooming.
- Looking behind at unsecured children or pets in the backseat.
2. MANUAL DISTRACTIONS.
Distractions that 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.
3. 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.
Studies have shown that using hands-free devices to make and receive phone calls is not safer than using handheld instruments. The National Safety Council (NSC) has contended that drivers can miss 50% of what they are seeing around them if they are talking on a hands-free device.
TIPS TO AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING.
Distracted drivers fail to keep their focus on the road and cause accidents. Some measures to help you drive more safely include :
- 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 scenery and click photographs.
- 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.
In Texas, the odds of being hit by a distracted driver are sadly very high. Despite state laws that prohibit texting and driving and campaigns that encourage drivers not to drive distracted, many drivers still break the law.
CONTACT A HOUSTON DISTRACTED DRIVING ACCIDENT LAWYER.
If you or your loved one has been a victim of a distracted driving accident anywhere in Texas, you deserve to be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call a Houston Board Certified Distracted Driving Accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.