More often than not, car accidents are caused by inattention on the part of the driver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day approximately eight people in the United States are killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. Distracted driving is when a driver’s attention is diverted away from driving in any number of ways. Since there are so many ways to become distracted while driving, there are also a number of ways to categorize these behaviors; however, distracted driving is most commonly divided into the following three categories:
- Manual distractions: These distractions take a driver’s hands off of the steering wheel and/or other necessary driving controls while driving. Examples can include eating, smoking, drinking, and adjusting the radio, among others.
- Visual distractions: These distractions take a driver’s eyes off of the road while driving. Examples can include looking at a passenger, looking down at a GPS navigation system, and reading billboards as you pass by them.
- Cognitive distractions: These distractions take a driver’s mind off of the task of driving. Examples can include talking to passengers in your car, being “lost in thought,” and listening to a podcast or audiobook.
The Particular Dangers of Cell Phone Use
Some types of distracted driving, such as texting, are especially dangerous because they combine all three of the categories of distraction mentioned above. When using a smartphone while driving, the driver’s eyes are looking at the cell phone screen instead of the road, their hands are on the phone instead of on the wheel, and their focus is on a text message or other cell phone application rather than on the road.
An average driver is distracted by their smartphone – making calls, texting, or swiping through apps – up to 26% of the time they are driving. In 2018, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 18% of all statewide auto accidents stemmed from distracted driving. This equaled a total of 95,572 car accidents caused by these dangerous behaviors. Furthermore, distracted driving accidents in Texas caused 2,340 serious injuries and 394 deaths that same year. Nationally, NHTSA reported that drivers are distracted by their phones at least 10% of their driving time and that 20% of injuries occurring in car accident crashes involved distracted driving.
Houston Distracted Driving Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, you should speak with an experienced attorney to learn more about your legal rights. The personal injury litigation team of Dax F. Garza, P.C. has successfully handled numerous motor vehicle accident cases – including trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, e-scooter accidents, car accidents, and more – and we understand what it takes to prove the other driver was at fault to get you the financial compensation you deserve. In Texas, time limits apply to the filing of all car accident claims, so don’t wait too long to reach out to a lawyer and learn more about your available next steps. Contact a Houston car accident attorney today to schedule a free initial consultation.
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