9 Distracted Driving Facts Every Driver Should Know

Houston Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys

1. What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is the performance of any action that takes a driver’s attention away from the road.

2. There are 3 Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving behaviors generally fall into three groups:

  1. Visual distractions
  2. Manual distractions
  3. Cognitive distractions

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions occur when a driver takes their eyes off the road by engaging in activities such as texting, looking at directions on the GPS or looking in the mirror, trying to find something inside of a purse or otherwise in the car, adjusting the temperature in the car or the volume on the stereo, and/or scrolling through music apps.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions occur when a driver takes their hands off of the car’s steering wheel to text, eat or drink, brush their hair, put on makeup, light a cigarette, adjust their child’s car seat, or tend to a pet.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when a driver takes their mind off of the task of driving by texting, speaking to a passenger in their car or someone on the phone (even if on a handsfree device), getting lost in thought and daydreams, or because they are tired due to drowsiness, poor sleep, or fatigue.

3. National Distracted Driving Fatalities are Increasing

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the number of distracted driving accidents statewide in 2018 was more than 95,000.  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. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving behaviors claimed the lives of over 3,000 drivers in 2020 and these issues causd one-tenth of all car accidents that result in fatalities. With this massive jump in fatalities, the severity of distracted driving accidents cannot be ignored.

4. 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.

5. It Only Takes Two 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 two 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.

Distracted Driving Car Wreck

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Over One-Fifth of Teen Car Accidents Involve Distracted Driving

teen distracted drivingMany 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.

9. 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. If you or someone you love was injured in a distracted driving accident, learn how experienced Houston car accident lawyer Dax Garza can help.


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