Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents on the roadways today. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers every day in the U.S.
At The Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC in Houston, we represent people who have been injured by distracted drivers. Our experienced car accident attorneys are committed to holding distracted drivers accountable and pursuing full compensation for your injuries.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving the vehicle. According to CDC, there are three basic types of driver distraction:
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- Visual – taking your eyes of the road
- Cognitive – taking your attention off driving
Texting is a particularly dangerous type of driver distraction, as it requires manual, visual, and cognitive attention. It takes the driver’s attention off the road for five seconds at a time – the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
Distracted Driving is More than Texting or Talking on the Phone
Texting and talking on a cell phone are not the only forms of driver distraction. Many drivers today are distracted by:
- Talking to passengers in the car
- Dealing with children
- Operating navigation systems
- Fiddling with the stereo or entertainment system
- Reaching for an object in the car
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the climate control
- Grooming or applying makeup
What Is the Law on Distracted Driving in Texas?
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that in 2016, there were 109,658 traffic crashes involving distracted driving statewide, causing 455 deaths and 3,087 serious injuries. Effective September 1, 2017, a new law passed by the 85th Texas Legislative Session banned texting. Specifically, the law prohibits motorists from reading, writing, or sending electronic messages while driving. A first offense carries a fine of up to $99. Subsequent offenses carry fines of up to $200. Cell phone use, including hands-free, was already banned under the law for drivers under the age of 18.
Recovering Compensation after a Distracted Driving Accident
If you were involved in an accident with a distracted driver who was violating a safety law, such as texting while driving, it makes it easier to recover compensation. Even if the distracted driver who caused your accident was not breaking a traffic law, you should be able to recover compensation based on negligence. To do so, you must prove that the distracted driver was acting below the standard of care that a reasonable driver would have shown.
How Our Houston Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Prove Distracted Driving
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, our Houston car accident attorney can request a copy of that driver’s cell phone records. These records can be used show whether the driver has sent or received any electronic messages while driving, including the time preceding, during, and following the crash. We can also examine police records for evidence of a handheld device in the vehicle and gather testimony from eyewitnesses.