The Houston Chronicle reported that as many as 23.5 percent of Texas drivers admitted to texting while driving in 2012. Given what we know about the tremendous dangers of distracted driving, it may surprise many people to learn that Texas does not have a statewide law banning the use of cell phones while driving. Furthermore, Texas is one of only four states without a statewide law prohibiting texting while driving. Although many cities in Texas have passed ordinances banning texting while driving, Houston has failed to do so.
Although it is not illegal throughout Texas, texting and driving is dangerous and can lead to serious car accidents. If you were involved in an accident with someone who was texting while driving, you deserve to be compensated for the losses they caused. Contact our experienced Houston car accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at (281) 283-8500.
Dangers of Texting While Driving
It is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that one in five auto accidents involve distracted driving. While distracted driving can include any activity that diverts your attention away from the task of operating your vehicle, cell phone use and texting while driving are the most problematic. In fact, data shows that people who use cell phones while driving are more likely to crash than those who do not regardless of whether they are using hands-free devices.
Using your phone while driving is particularly hazardous because it involves a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction. In other words, texting in your vehicle means taking your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and mind off of driving. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, reading or sending a text message doubles the reaction time of a driver. This is because the driver’s eyes are away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds when reading or sending a text message. That is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind.
Texting While Driving Accident Statistics
- Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers.
- The National Safety Council estimates that 341,000 motor vehicle crashes in 2013 involved texting while driving.
- Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest rate of distraction-related fatal crashes and young people are the most likely to text or talk on their phones while behind the wheel.
- A survey conducted by AT&T in 2013 found that 49 percent of people admitted to texting and driving even though 98 percent of respondents said that they are aware of the safety risks.
Texas Distracted Driving Laws
Despite no statewide ban on texting, Texas has enacted several measures to address distracted driving. Those include:
- Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the car during the first six months of driving.
- Drivers younger than 18 years of age are prohibited from using cell phones in the car, even with hands-free devices.
- School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present.
- All drivers are prohibited from texting and using handheld devices while driving in school zones.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Lawyer for Help
Distracted driving is extremely reckless behavior. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone that was using their phone while driving, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. The amount and types of compensation you may receive will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, but can include past and future:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical impairment
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our talented team of Houston personal injury lawyers have more than four decades of experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents obtain the compensation they deserve. We have the resources, skills, and knowledge to fight for the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and we will work tirelessly to hold distracted drivers accountable.
Contact our Houston car accident lawyers today at (281) 283-8500 for a free case evaluation.