Were You Hit By A Distracted Driver?
Almost everyone today has a cellphone — and it seems that every call, text and email is urgent. Because of this, distracted driving has become a major issue in Texas and across the country.
Most motorists make a consistent effort to drive safely. Yet auto accidents kill thousands of people each year, and distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent factors in fatal accidents. The federal government reports that in 2012, one in four crashes involved driver distraction, and more than 3,300 motorists were killed in distraction-related crashes and an estimated 421,000 people were injured.
There is no denying one of the biggest distractions that drivers face every day: cellphones. Young drivers who have grown up relying on cellphones are affected most. Inexperience behind the wheel and cellphone use have become a lethal combination as distracted driving has become the No. 1 killer among teens. Ten percent of all drivers under the age of 20 who are killed in car crashes were apparently distracted at the time of the crash, with many of these distractions caused by cellphone use, including texting.
Cellphone Laws In Texas
Although many states have enacted laws banning cellphones while driving, Texas has not. However, the state has instituted certain restrictions, including:
- Drivers with learning permits may not use a handheld cellphone while driving.
- Drivers under the age of 18 may not operate wireless communication devices of any kind.
- School bus drivers are prohibited from all cellphone use while children are on their buses.
What Is A Texting And Driving Accident?
Texting while driving is becoming a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. When a driver takes their eyes off the road to draft and send a text, they will not have enough time to react and safely stop if cars have slowed or stopped. Consequently, the impact is usually much harder and the likelihood of injuries much higher.
Consequences Of A Texting And Driving Accident
Studies show that taking your eyes off the road for even a few moments requires several more to readjust to safe driving. Even when a text takes just a second or two to compose and send, it can take upwards of 10 seconds for a driver to refocus on driving. This puts motorists at risk when surrounding cars are changing lanes, encountering construction or making an emergency stop. The result is often a serious accident.
Damages For Texting And Driving Accidents
Victims of texting and driving accidents are entitled to damages in the form of reimbursement from the liable party. This can include:
- Lost wages
- Costs of medical care
- The costs of ongoing medical needs or therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
In the most extreme cases, a victim may also be entitled to punitive damages. Because texting and driving is such a rampant problem, using such damages to deter similar conduct in the future is common.
How We Can Help
Texting and driving accidents are often catastrophic. The damages may be severe and the injuries life-changing. Aggressive pursuit of damages is critical to maximize recovery.
A personal injury attorney familiar with texting and driving accidents can establish liability by presenting evidence of fault and pursuing the maximum amount of damages possible. This can be done by demonstrating that the driver was not paying full attention and was texting at the time of or in the moments leading up to the accident. Cellphone records or witness testimony are often essential evidence in these accidents.