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Legal Blog

Is Distracted Driving in Houston Out of Control?

Immediately following a car accident it can be hard to tell if the other driver was distracted, but distracted driving injured nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. in 2015. Experts even believe that this number is far underreported. If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving crash, it can be hard to get your life back, but the Houston car accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C., are here to help.

Let us review your situation, help determine if the at-fault driver was preoccupied to the point of being reckless, and how you can recover everything you need. Call 281-283-8500 or submit the details of your accident for a free consultation today.

Houston Has Too Many Distracted Drivers

Houston is the fourth most populated city in the United States and hosts over 7 million visitors each year in addition to its 2.3 million residents. When The Houston Chronicle states that a Zendrive survey showed Houston has nearly one in 12 distracted drivers, it is cause for alarm. Meanwhile, the Houston-Galveston Area Council found distraction-related crashes grew 23 percent between 2012 and 2016.

Harris County had 13,052 accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2017 alone, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. The majority of these crashes were “minor,” but 21 were fatal, and 205 caused serious injury to victims.

The sad thing is that all of them were preventable.

Houston already houses many of the most dangerous roads in the United States. The Houston Chronicle says, “640 people a year die on Houston-area roads, and 2,850 more are seriously injured.” When you add in distracted driving, everything gets worse. Speeding, drifting, making unsafe turns, and failing to yield the right-of-way can hurt more than other drivers—it can hurt bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the street, who are at much higher risk of suffering catastrophic injury or death.

Drivers & Phones: The Worst Distraction

With just one cellular device, a distracted driver in Houston can be:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Browsing the Internet
  • Watching videos
  • Looking at maps/directions
  • Reading

According to the Insurance Information Institute, data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows cellphones were involved in at least 14 percent of the fatal distracted driving collisions of 2016. In Texas, phones were named as a contributing factor in 5,095 collisions in 2017 alone. And those are just the known reports.

However, many things can constitute a “distraction” while a person is operating a two-ton motor vehicle, like:

  • Adjusting the music
  • Eating or drinking
  • Paying attention to passengers
  • Doing makeup or hair
  • Focusing on something outside the vehicle, like another accident
  • Focusing on something inside the vehicle, like loose change
  • Daydreaming

A distracted driver is rarely able to take evasive maneuvers like braking or swerving to avoid an accident, and many rear-end collisions can and do result. Alongside phones, distractions inside vehicles contributed to more than 8,000 collisions in Texas in 2017.

What can you do if you suspect a distracted driver hit you in Houston? Your best bet is to talk to an experienced Houston car crash attorney right away.

Proving Distracted Driving

Though Texas bans texting while driving, many police departments do not enforce the ban because it is difficult to prove. There are also exceptions to the law, allowing drivers to look up directions, listen to music, and contact emergency services on their phones. “It’s very difficult to determine if someone was using their phone if there’s a crash unless they admit to it,” according to Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association.

What you must do is establish negligence. Did the other driver do something a reasonable driver would not have done, causing the crash? If so, you have the right to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Usually, our legal team has to subpoena phone records in a distracted driving case, and it can take several weeks to verify if a driver was on their phone at the time they struck our client. If the cause of distraction wasn’t a phone, we look for other clues, like food and drink cartons, or speak to eyewitnesses. But it can be done.

Let The Krist Law Firm, P.C. Handle Your Case

Attorney Scott C. Krist has handled many contentious cases where the fault for the collision was unknown, and with the help of cutting-edge science and accident reconstruction experts, he proved his clients deserved restitution.

You deserve the chance to recover from your injuries: physically and financially If you or a loved one have been hurt by a driver that you suspect was distracted, call The Krist Law Firm, P.C., at 281-283-8500 to set up a free consultation. We will advance all the costs to file your lawsuit and are only paid when you recover compensation.