We live in a world that constantly craves our attention. Online deals, social media feeds, and notifications on our phones seek to shift our focus in their direction, asking us to multi-task. But driving is one aspect of life that demands our concentration 100% of the time. The many types of distracted driving are a leading cause of car accidents across the U.S. and in Texas.
When a driver focuses on something else other than driving, he/she can’t quickly react or respond to any road conditions to avoid an accident. As a result, about 8 people in the country lose their lives to accidents involving distracted drivers every day.
If you experience a car accident because of a distracted driver in Texas, consult with an experienced Corpus Christi car accident attorney at The Burkett Law Firm. We’ll help you hold the distracted driver responsible for your damages and demand full compensation for your losses.
What is distracted driving?
According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving.
Drivers are engaging in this dangerous driving habit while talking and texting, eating food, programming their GPS system, and turning around to check on children and pets. Additionally, hidden distractions such as listening to loud music, talking to family and friends, and mental distractions like stress or road rage, all interfere with one’s driving abilities.
What you may not know is that distracted driving goes beyond just texting while driving and actually comes in three forms.
Types of distracted driving
According to the CDCP, there are three categories of distracted driving:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Examples of visual distractions include rubbernecking, or looking around instead of keeping your eyes forward. Ironically, many drivers will engage in rubbernecking to stare at an accident scene on the road – and thus risk causing an accident themselves.
Manual distractions include eating, smoking, or grabbing something from the glove compartment. A cognitive distraction includes listening to any form of media (including music, podcasts or audiobooks) and having a heated argument on the phone or with a passenger.
It’s possible for each type of distraction to consume your attention at the same time. For example, texting while driving may cause you to take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and take your mind off driving, as you read and respond to messages.
Distractions behind the wheel leave some victims with life-changing injuries, while others lose their lives at the hand of distracted drivers. Texas is a state that knows the outcome of distracted driving all too well.
Distracted driving statistics in Texas
Distracted driving behavior is a continuing problem for Texas. These alarming statistics from TDOT show how. Texas roads saw 561,582 total car crashes in 2019 and more than 17% of these accidents were caused by distracted driving. Out of these distracted driving accidents, 378 resulted in death and 2,500 in serious injuries.
Corpus Christi has its own issues with distracted driving as the city is a witness to the following distracted driving accidents:
- Bike accident: Corpus Christi police say distracted driving was the cause of a January 2020 vehicle-bicyclist crash. A distracted woman driving a SUV struck a bicyclist, sending the bike rider to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The woman received a distracted driving ticket.
- Tractor-trailer accident: In 2016, three teenagers were killed in a distracted driving car accident. State troopers say a cell phone GPS was being used while driving when the vehicle veered into the path of a tractor-trailer rig.
- Texting and driving accident: In 2013, a mother lost her 18-year-old son to a texting and driving accident. After tweeting her a message, he later slammed into an 18 wheeler truck that was fully stopped to make a turn. He died almost instantly.
Texas distracted driving laws and penalties
Not only is distracted driving dangerous, it’s illegal in Texas.
On September 1, 2017, Texas placed a statewide ban on distracted driving to keep drivers from reading, writing, or sending electronic messages on mobile devices while driving.
While drivers are able to use their phones for emergency calls and reporting crimes, the penalty for violating Texas’ texting and driving law under Texas H.B. Bill No. 62 includes a ticket and a fine.
For the first offense, a driver will pay $99 and $200 for repeated distracted driving tickets. Usually, texting and driving does not end in jail time. But if an accident seriously injures a person or causes a fatality, the at-fault driver could face up to $4,000 in fines and spend up to one year in jail.
Hold a distracted driver responsible with our Corpus Christi car accident attorneys
If you believe a distracted driver caused your injuries, speak with a trusted car accident attorney at The Burkett Law Firm. We understand what it’s like to suffer through injuries caused by unnecessary distractions while driving, and we’ll use our 40 years of experience to help get you the full compensation you need to move forward. Give us a call today or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. At The Burkett Law Firm, it’s not just a case; it’s your life.