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While Texas leads the nation in wrong-way driving fatalities, another cause of car accident fatalities is not speeding, as you might guess, but rather distracted driving. In 2020 alone, a staggering 80,000 crashes involved Texas drivers paying attention to something other than the road. Of those crashes, 364 were fatal. A few months ago, one accident took place when a distracted SUV driver crashed into another vehicle, killing his passenger.

Despite a 2017 Texas state law that forbids drivers from using their cell phones to text, read or browse the web unless they are completely stopped at a stoplight (some cities have banned it entirely), cell phone use was by far the highest distraction, making up 27% of all crashes nationwide. Sadly, one in five people who died in these types of distracted driving accidents are not even in a car but walking or riding bikes instead.

Anything that takes your attention away from the road is distracted driving. Distracted driving can include but is not limited to eating and drinking, putting on makeup or brushing hair, using text-to-talk features, being tired, messing with the radio or navigation system, interacting with other passengers and pets and even reading a book or newspaper. 

Nationally, distracted driving causes nearly 400,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths every year. It the cause of nine out of ten of the 100 car crashes reported daily. Drivers may think they are adept at texting and driving, but even a glance at your phone can involve yourself or others in a dangerous crash. Texting can take your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, which, when traveling at 55 miles per hour, would mean you traveled the length of a football field with your eyes off the road. 

Road distractions fall into three categories:

  • Visual (looking anywhere other than on the road)
  • Manual (using your hands to do things other than steer)
  • Cognitive (thinking about something hard enough that you stop thinking about driving)

Unsurprisingly, those most at risk for distracted driving are teenagers and young adults. In the U.S. in 2018, 25% of the drivers involved in a fatal crash were between the ages of 20-29. A 2019 study done by the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) found that teenagers are even more to blame; 39% of high school students spent at least one day out of 30 texting or even sending emails while driving. It also reported that distracted driving doesn’t discriminate based on how good a student you are. These actions were just as common among A and B students as they were in lower grade students. Distracted teens were also more likely than their non-distracting peers to engage in other behaviors like riding without a seatbelt or driving under the influence.

Students generally don’t take the time to learn the laws they are breaking when they drive distracted. In Texas, you cannot send or receive texts while driving, and you can’t use your phone at all during your first six months on the road or before you turn 18. Even school bus drivers are completely prohibited from using a phone if there are any children present.

As you can see, you are at high risk of being injured by a distracted driver anytime you are on the roads. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving accident, you may need to hire a car accident attorney to seek damages or medical bill compensation. The Cochran Firm Texas team has ample experience in handling distracted driving car accident cases. Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-THE-FIRM (800-843-3476), fill out our contact form or chat with us online to set up a free consultation.

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