How Dangerous Can Distracted Driving Be?
It’s always frustrating driving behind someone who is distracted from the road. We’ve all been stuck behind that one person at the traffic light who decides to make a Snapchat video or text back their friend and fail to go when the light turns green. Although advanced safety technology in newer vehicles has improved and reduced the number of fatalities over years, incidences of distracted driving have seen a significant increase.
Reasons for Increase in the Cases of Distracted Driving
The increase in distracted driving is likely because of the newer capabilities of smartphones such as calling, texting, snap-chatting, and Instagram. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, every day nine lives are lost in the United States due to distracted driving. In addition to that, over 1,000 people are hurt in car wrecks that involve distracted driving.
Different Types of Distracted Driving
There are several classifications that distracted driving is categorized into:
- Visual: When you take your eyes off of the road
- Manual: When you take your hands off of the wheel
- Cognitive: When you take your mind off of driving
Texting is one of the most extreme forms of distracted driving because it checks all the boxes in the distraction category. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that when driving 55MPH while reading or sending a text takes your eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds. Five seconds is enough time for a car to travel the distance of a football field.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Texas Cell Phone Ordinances
Texas law prohibits the use of cell phones and other handheld devices under certain conditions while driving. New drivers with learners’ permits are not allowed to use handheld devices during their first six months of driving. All drivers are prohibited from using cell phones and handheld devices in school zones.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Laws alone won’t prevent distracted driving. Drivers must hold themselves accountable and resist the urge to use their phone. To keep yourself from picking up your phone while driving, put it in your purse, bag or glovebox. If you need to send a text, pull over. Newer cars have handsfree capabilities that allow drivers to make emergency calls as long as their phone is connected via Bluetooth. Likewise, a number of smartphones have a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature that will automatically turn on and block text messages while the car is in motion.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident due to a distracted driver, you may be owed compensation for your damages. Call 713-524-8139 or go online to set up a time to speak with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer at our law firm.