Distracted driving is driving while engaging in other activities that distract the driver’s attention from the road. Distracted driving can be extremely dangerous and causes hundreds of thousands of crashes yearly. Experts have identified three types of distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive.
Three Types of Distracted Driving
Distractions are caused by using your hands for anything other than steering the vehicle. This includes adjusting the radio, running through a playlist on your phone, or looking for your sunglasses.
Distractions that take your eyes off the road. Common types of visual distractions include texting, reading billboards or looking at off-road activity or scenery.
Distractions that take your mind off driving include talking on the phone, lack of sleep, or consuming alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications against medical advice prior to hitting the road.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people injured in distraction-affected crashes in 2020 was estimated at 324,652 (14% of all people injured). An estimated 29,999 people were injured in 2020 in crashes involving cell phone use or other cell-phone-related activities (9% of all people injured in distraction-affected crashes).
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that when it comes to dangerous driving practices, texting remains near the very top of the list, landing in the second position in terms of crash causes. Consider the following statistics: One out of every five crashes on Texas roadways was caused by distracted driving in 2020. Distracted drivers in Texas seriously injured 2,200 people and killed another 364 in 2020.
Common Types of Distracted Driving
Many things can result in distraction, and it is your job as a driver to avoid things that can cause your attention to waver. Common causes of distracted driving which should be avoided include things such as:
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the music
- Rowdy passengers or multiple passengers
- Pets as passengers
- Trying to read a map or GPS device
- Calling, texting, or checking emails
When a person drives while distracted, it is dangerous for them and the other drivers nearby. Distraction can result in running a stop sign or red light, lane deviation, or veering off the roadway, which can cause a collision with another vehicle. Additionally, inattentive drivers may not notice cyclists and pedestrians sharing the roadway, which can put them at risk of devastating injuries.
Any one of these forms of distracted driving is enough to cause an accident. Unfortunately, most of these can be avoided if a driver is always careful to observe what they’re doing while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
Although laws vary from state to state, these are the distracted driving laws in Texas.
- Drivers who are just learning to drive and have learner’s permits are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. Young drivers need to focus their undivided attention on the task of driving.
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a handheld cell phone.
- School bus drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving if children are present.
- It’s illegal for all drivers to use any type of handheld cell phone while driving on public school property or in a school zone during times when reduced speed limits are in effect.
- Texas law makes an exception to the restrictions on using a cell phone. You may use your cell phone to contact law enforcement or in case of an emergency. If you must make a call, try to pull off the road first.
Believe Distracted Driving Resulted in Your Accident? Contact Genthe Law Firm
If you have been in an accident and discover that the other driver was involved in some distracted driving conduct, it can help prove an auto accident was not your fault. Initially, law enforcement is responsible for investigating an injury crash to determine if the at-fault driver was distracted. This includes searching the car for evidence of distraction or pulling cell phone records.
Whenever possible, the victim (or passenger) should take photos of the car accident scene. These pictures may show evidence of what was distracting the other driver and other valuable information about the injury accident.
Getting the right help soon after a crash puts you in the best possible position for fair and full compensation. Connect with Genthe Law Firm today to discuss the details of your case and learn more about our Genthe Guarantee.