Texas Seeks to Stamp out Distracted Driving
Almost a quarter of the traffic accidents in Texas involve some form of distracted driving. Drivers can be distracted by their radio, a passenger or even food. In recent years, cell phones and electronic devices have become a major distraction for drivers. Because distracted driving was responsible for over 100,000 Texas crashes in 2014, the state is making a major effort to prevent this behavior.
In 2014, 468 people were killed by distracted driving in Texas. One method Texas is using to lower this number is participation in the National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, held annually in April. Each year during this awareness period, there are ads on the radio, internet and television encouraging drivers to put away their phones before their drive. Additionally, community events are held where the public is shown how difficult it is to focus on other tasks while texting.
The Texas Department of Transportation has developed a campaign called “Talk. Text. Crash.” The goal of this campaign is to reduce distracted driving and cell phone use by drivers through the use of billboards, videos and other media. The state hopes its public campaign will reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by these behaviors. Unfortunately, nearly half of all Texas drivers use a phone while driving and almost a quarter admit to texting while they drive.
A texting driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than a driver who isn’t texting. A driver who is reading or sending a text message takes twice as long to react to a danger or hazard on the road. In fact, their reaction times are comparable to drunk drivers with a BAC of 0.08%. When looking a text, a driver takes their eyes off the road for almost five seconds. At highway speeds, this means a driver can go the length of a football field without seeing what is in front of them.
Any distraction while driving reduces reaction times and abilities to concentrate. While using a hands-free device may be safer than holding a phone, drivers involved in a conversation do not perform as well as undistracted drivers. While the state has not banned the use of cell phones while driving, use is restricted for young drivers and in school zones. Additionally, many cities throughout the state have enacted their own bans with fines ranging from $200-$500.
One of the cities that have placed restrictions on cell phone use is Conroe, home to the law firm of Hope & Causey, P.C. Our attorneys help victims of distracted driving accidents hold negligent drivers responsible. Call us today at 936-441-4673 or contact us online to arrange a no-cost consultation.