Texas Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Distracted driving has turned into a national epidemic, claiming thousands of innocent lives every year.
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.
Texting while driving is the most common form of distracted driving. Texting while driving is illegal everywhere in the State of Texas.
Cellphone Laws in Texas
- You cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving in Texas.
- Drivers with learner’s permit 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.
Eye-Opening Facts and Statistics on Distracted
Distracted driving is associated with some startling facts and is responsible for some horrifying statistics. Some of these include:
- In 2018, distracted driving led to 95,572 accidents in Texas. Of these:
- 4325 accidents involved the use of cell phones and other portable communication devices.
- 84,826 accidents involved driver inattention, such as daydreaming or listening to music.
- 6,421 involved other distractions, such as pets, children, or retrieving objects.
- In 2018, distracted driving accidents resulted in 2,340 serious injuries and 354 deaths in Texas.
- Distracted driving is the second-most common cause of car accidents in Texas, second only to speeding.
- Distracted driving causes nearly four times more crashes than driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- At least one person has been killed on a Texas road everyday for the past 16 years. The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched the hashtag campaign #EndTheStreakTX to educate drivers and raise awareness about distracted driving.
- 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.
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.
- The Defendant breached his or her duty of care.
- The breach of duty by the Defendant caused the accident.
- The accident caused compensable damages.
How Can an Experienced Texas Distracted Driving Attorney Assist You?
To build a solid 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 obtain the following evidence to establish liability and damages in Texas distracted driving accident lawsuits:
- Cell phone records showing phone calls and text messages made and received.
- Police reports.
- Medical reports and medical expenses for past and future treatment.
- Photographs of the scene of the accident.
- Reports from treating physicians regarding nature of injuries and medical treatment.
- Information on the negligent driver’s insurance company.
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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Enforcement of Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
Texas uses primary enforcement. This means that even if you are in total control of your vehicle while texting, a police officer who sees you texting while driving can pull you over and write up a citation.
Penalty for Distracted Driving in Texas
In Texas, the penalty for a violation of the State distracted driving laws is as follows:
- For a first Offense: $25 to $99
- For a second or following Offense: $100 to $200
The amount you will be expected to pay is often higher than the fine, since Court costs and fees are added in.
Distracted Driving Increases Insurance Rates in Texas
Although a distracted driving citation doesn’t add points against your driving record, expect insurance rates to go up. The rate hike depends on the insurance company you use and your overall driving history. In Texas, distracted Driving citations can cause rates to go up by an average of $175 a year.
Measures Undertaken by the State of Texas to Tackle the Menace of Distracted Driving
Texas actively supports campaigns to educate Texans about the evils of distracted driving. These initiatives include:
- Talk, Text, Crash.
- Heads Up, Texas.
Each of these campaigns is funded by the State of Texas and focuses on minimizing the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.
Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving
Distracted drivers fail to keep their focus on the road and cause accidents. Some measures to help you drive more safely include:
- Never use your cell phone while driving.
- Use your cell phone for emergency purposes only. Turn off your notifications before you start to drive.
- Pull off the road entirely and come to a complete halt if you have to make an emergency call.
- Familiarize yourself with local laws as some cities in Texas ban all cell phone use while driving.
- 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.
Compensation in a Texas Distracted Driving Accident
Motorists, passengers, and pedestrians are entitled to damages if they were injured due to the negligence of a distracted driver. Damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Past and future wage losses.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Permanent disability or disfigurement.
- Diminished quality of life.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional trauma.
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium.
Contact a Texas Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
If you or your loved one has been a victim of a distracted driving accident anywhere in the state of Texas, you deserve to be duly compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call a experienced Distracted Driving Accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.