Distracted driving is on the rise in the United States and is one of the main causes of car accidents in Texas. If a driver becomes distracted, even if only for a few seconds to check a text message or reach for an item, they will not be able to respond to a sudden change ahead of their vehicle. This can lead to a devastating car accident that can leave the driver and others involved seriously injured or even killed. Every driver should be aware of the seriousness of distracted driving as illustrated by the following national and state statistics:
- National distracted driving fatalities are increasing. The number of fatalities in distracted driving related crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was 3,142 in 2019. This constituted 8.7 percent of all vehicle fatalities that year. This is an increase of almost 10 percent from the number of national distracted driving fatalities in 2018. With this massive jump in fatalities, the severity of distracted driving accidents cannot be ignored.
- In Texas, distracted driving causes almost one-fifth of all vehicle accidents each year. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in 2019 there were 561,582 total vehicle crashes on Texas roads. Of those collisions, 97,853 involved a distracted driver. Even though Texas state law has prohibited drivers from reading, writing, or sending any form of electronic messages on cell phones while driving since September 1, 2017, distracted drivers still cause serious accidents. The 97,583 distracted driving crashes in 2019 resulted in 2,500 serious injuries and 378 deaths.
- It only takes three seconds for a car crash to occur once a driver is distracted from the road. When driving, a driver paying attention to the road will typically exhibit high levels of concentration and quick reaction times. However, statistics show that if a driver’s attention is taken away from the road at all, it only takes three seconds for a crash to happen. Reading a text message or e-mail can easily take a driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds or more, increasing their likelihood of getting into a serious crash.
- Parents with young children in the car are more likely to be distracted when driving. When driving, having young children in the car can be incredibly distracting. Driving while trying to make sure children are behaving can be very dangerous. Adults driving with children in the car have an 87 percent chance of becoming distracted, while adults without children only have a 74 percent chance of becoming distracted. Make sure children are secured in their car seats safely and have everything they need for the drive before beginning your trip.
- Texting while driving is more likely to cause a car accident than drunk driving. Statistics show drivers who text and drive are six times more likely to crash their vehicles compared to drunk drivers. This is a terrifying statistic, as it is well known that drunk driving is incredibly dangerous and can be fatal. Cell phones have become an integral part of everyone’s daily lives, but using them while driving can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
- Over one-fifth of teen car accidents involve distracted driving. Many teens are glued to their cell phones and would not be caught outside of the house without them. Social media, texting with friends, and playing games are all major sources of distraction for teen drivers. Over 21 percent of the teens involved in a car accident were distracted by using their cell phone. This statistic is even worse when looking at national teen causes of death, as vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States.
- A distracted driving ticket can cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket. All Texas drivers are required to have car insurance. If a driver in Texas is caught driving while texting and receives a ticket, their car insurance premium can skyrocket. This can seriously impact a driver’s budget and their ability to support their family at home. Driving while distracted is not worth the danger it brings to the road or the cost of a ticket if caught.
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. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a car accident and you believe the driver that hit you was driving while distracted, consult with our knowledgeable team of attorneys about your rights. By hiring an attorney well versed in distracted driving cases, you can have peace of mind being guided through the legal process with care. Houstonians have a lot of road to cover, but no one should fear daily drives road because of distracted drivers. Contact the experienced accident lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C.to learn more about how we can help you recover financial compensation for your damages.