There is enough to worry about when out on the road without having to wonder whether the person in the next car is reading a not-so-urgent text message instead of focusing on driving safely.
Unfortunately, the growth of smartphones and attempts to multi-task has created a new series of dangers. Distracted drivers are a growing risk. With the abundance of technology and the increasing functions of personal electronics, drivers are given near-constant temptation to take their eyes off the road. Unfortunately, any distraction — even for a split second — can lead to a serious car accident.
Knowing what kinds of distractions are prevalent and the correlation between these distractions and car accidents is important.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. At the Burch Law Firm, we have more than 27 years of experience guiding clients through the legal process. Discuss the specifics of your case with us during a free initial consultation.
What are The Different Types of Driving Distractions for Drivers?
Any action that takes a driver’s attention from the road is a distraction. Distracted driving can lead to catastrophic injuries or even fatal accidents.
Texas drivers understand that there are various dangers and risks on the roadways. It is also understood that when a driver is behind the wheel of a vehicle, the person owes a certain duty of care to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on or near the roadway they are traveling on. Failure to do so could result in a serious car crash. One common danger on the road is distracted driving and could come in various forms.
What are the different types of driving distractions for drivers? Distracted driving is defined as doing another activity while driving a vehicle that takes the attention of the driver away from driving or takes their eyes off the road. This is very dangerous and could occur in three different ways.
First, the driver could encounter visual distractions. This occurs when an activity takes the driver’s eyes off of the road. Common ways for this to occur includes texting and driving, using a GPS and touching buttons in the vehicle. These are also common examples of the second type of distraction, which is manual distraction. This occurs when a driver takes their hands off of the wheel.
The final type of distraction is cognitive. This occurs when the driver’s mind is taken off of driving. This frequently occurs when a driver is talking on the phone, talking with a passenger or is using a GPS device. These three types of distractions could lead to inattentive driving, resulting in a serious and even fatal collision.
While many drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, it still occurs. Drivers should be aware of these types of distractions so they can correct or adjust their driving habits so they can increase driver safety on the roadways.
Common distractions can include:
- Texting and driving
- Cellphone use
- Facebook use
- Applying makeup or shaving
- Watching videos
- Checking email
- Manipulating a navigation system.
Distracted driving is likely to influence a driver’s ability to perceive danger and react quickly. Whether traffic is stopped or the driver has reached a busy intersection, it is crucial to be able to control the vehicle in a safe manner.
Cellphone Use While Driving
A 2011 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study found that 69 percent of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 reported that they had talked on their cellphone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed. While this statistic might not be too surprising, the 2014 edition of the National Safety Council’s report “Injury Facts” found that the use of cellphones caused 26 percent of the nation’s car accidents.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel. For more than 23 years, attorneys at the Burch Law Firm have provided legal advice and representation to injured clients in New Braunfels and communities throughout central Texas. No matter the severity of your accident, we will fight to recover the maximum compensation possible for your lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Types of Driving Distractions
Driving distractions are typically grouped into three categories:
- Visual distractions cause drivers to take their eyes off the road.
- Mechanical distractions cause drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive distractions occur when a driver’s mind is not fully engaged in the task of driving.
In the case of talking on a cellphone, it is the cognitive distraction that endangers drivers. A recent report found that using a handheld phone or a hands-free phone resulted in nearly identical distractions. Additionally, the study found that drivers who were conversing on a cellphone were involved in more rear-end collisions than when they were intoxicated. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer today.
Accidents Caused By Social Media And Driving
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in the UK found that using a smartphone for social networking slows drivers’ reaction times by 37.6 percent. The IAM compared those reaction times to reaction times of intoxicated drivers. Driving while under the influence of alcohol at the legal limit slows reaction times by 12.5 percent.
Posting a Facebook status or sending a Tweet while driving poses a substantial risk due the level of distraction. It is a cognitive distraction because the driver’s mental attention is pulled from surveying the road to thinking about what to type. It is a mechanical distraction because at least one hand is pulled from the steering wheel to type the response. Finally, it is a visual distraction because the driver must look at the phone to type and send the post. Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options for monetary recovery following a serious car accident.
Texting While Driving Accidents
According to distracted driving statistics compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to crash. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a skilled lawyer who can explain your legal options for monetary compensation.
Since 1990, the Burch Law Firm has proudly served the community of New Braunfels and areas throughout central Texas. We understand the devastation that can follow a serious motor vehicle accident, and will fight for the maximum monetary compensation possible for our clients. With the sharp increase in cellphone use and technology in the past decade, accidents caused by distracted drivers have become more prevalent on Texas roads. Whether an individual was reading or sending a text, he or she is more likely to collide with another vehicle.
New Braunfels Texting While Driving Accident Lawyers
The National Safety Council estimates that texting while driving causes 1.6 million accidents per year. These accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and even death. Often, a distracted driver will veer into oncoming traffic, fail to recognize slowing or stopped traffic, or fail to stop or yield at an intersection. Any of these collisions can lead to head injuries, neck injuries or even paralysis.
If your accident was caused by an individual who was texting, do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation today. We will investigate the factors of your accident, and aggressively pursue every legal avenue of compensation open to us.
Is Distracted Driving Illegal in Texas?
Car accidents can be scary ordeals for those involved. They can be left with serious injuries, medical bills, lost wages and property damage. People may not know where to turn following an accident, or even why an accident occurred. Understanding these things and other legal intricacies can be an important step on the road to recovery.
In particular, it is important for people to determine why a car accident occurred. Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents in Texas and across the United States. While there are many different activities that can constitute distracted driving — including eating while driving and using the radio — the most common form is using a cell phone while driving. This can include texting and driving or just talking on the phone while driving. Texting is particularly dangerous because it takes a person’s eyes, hands and brain away from the task of driving.
Texas recently passed a statewide ban on texting while driving for all drivers, prohibiting a driver’s ability to “read, write, or send an electronic message.” but some cities including San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso have stricter laws against cell phone usage and distracted driving. For example, if a driver has a learner’s permit, they are prohibited from using handheld cellphone for the first six months of driving. In addition, if a driver is under the age of 18, they are prohibited from using any wireless communication devices.
Furthermore, school bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while they are driving if there are children present in or near the bus. With regards to school zones, all drivers are prohibited from both texting as using handheld devices while driving. If a driver is cited for violating the cell phone ordinances, the driver could face a fine ranging from $200 to $500.
If a driver was breaking a state or local distracted driving law and caused an accident, then you could be entitled to compensation. However, specific legal advice — which this post cannot provide — is necessary to determine if these Texas distracted driving laws apply to your situation.
Speak With Our Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers Today
Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal options. The distracted driving accident attorneys at Burch Law Firm can be reached using our convenient online form. Free consultations. Evening or weekend appointments are available based on the needs of our clients.