Distracted Driving Is a Serious Issue in TexasHouston Legal News
The term “distracted driving” applies to drivers who fail to pay proper attention behind the wheel. Texas car accidents caused by distracted driving has continued to rise over the past decade. While the number of crashes should be decreasing due to improved roadway safety, crash rates continue to be high due to distracted driving. The Texas Department of Transportation reported that there were more than 109,000 accidents attributed to distracted driving in Texas in 2016, contributing to 3,000 injuries and 450 deaths that year.
Distracted Driving Does Not Just Mean Cell Phone Use
Most people believe that distracted driving only involves cell phone use. However, that is not the case. There are many activities that are classified as distracted driving, and some of these even include applying makeup, eating, drinking, messing with the radio, conversing with passengers, reading, and other actions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that diverse the attention of the driver away from the task of driving. The primary three categories of roadway distractions include:
- Visual distractions. Any activities that take your eyes off the roadway
- Manual distractions. Any activities that take your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive distractions. Including daydreaming while driving
Cell phone use such as texting is so dangerous because it involves all three forms of distraction simultaneously. Texting takes your eyes off the road, your focus off driving, and your hands off the wheel. Even composing a short text message can distract for nearly five seconds or longer. In order to understand just how dangerous this can be, you should sit your driveway, close your eyes, and count to five. In just five seconds, a lot can happen while behind the wheel.
Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
Under Texas law, it is prohibited to use electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle, which is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $99 for the first offense and up to $200 for further offenses. Drivers under the age of 18 are not even permitted to use wireless communication devices, and bus drivers are not allowed to use a phone if a minor is present in the vehicle. No driver is allowed to use any handheld device while traveling in a school zone. Sadly, many drivers fail to follow the law under the assumption that they will not be caught. The police may have a hard time proving that you were driving while distracted, which makes the law difficult to enforce.
Distracted Driving Car Crashes in Houston
In most cases, Texas car crash victims are injured by reckless or negligent drivers, and the responsible party can be made to cover the damages resulting from the collision. For over a decade, Connolly Law has helped car crash victims obtain the compensation they deserve. Our qualified Houston car crash attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected under the law. Contact our offices today at 877-CONNLAW to discuss your case today.