Study: No Bigger Risk Than Distracted Driving
For years, drunk driving was considered the greatest risk on highways across the country. Laws were passed, safety campaigns emerged, and classes warned students of the dangers of drinking and driving.
As a result, drunk driving accidents declined. Unfortunately, a new danger rose in their place. In the past several years, distracted driving has proved to be just as hazardous, and considerably more prevalent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that driver’s distraction causes 1.6 million accidents annually. That is a stunning 25 percent of all crashes in the United States.
Key Distracted Driving Facts
Distracted driving can be caused by more than just texting. Anything that causes a driver to look away from the road is a distraction. Other possible distractions are: talking on cellphones, car infotainment systems, eating food behind the wheel, and talking to friends or children.
To better understand the scope of the problem, here are a few key facts about distracted driving:
- The most common time range for a distracted driving accident is from 3 p.m. to 5:59 p.m.
- Friday sees the highest percentage of distracted driving crashes during the week. Thursday is a close second.
- Around 660,000 people in the United States drive while using electronic devices at any given time.
- In one study, drivers were distracted in the six seconds before an accident 59 percent of the time.
- Distracted driving is slightly more common in good weather, showing drivers are more willing to take the risk.
- The increased risk is nothing new. From 2002 to 2011, these accidents increased by a staggering 22 percent. Nearly a decade later, nothing has changed.
- Some experts say that a driver who is actively texting is just as dangerous as a driver who consumed four beers before getting behind the wheel.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that a driver driving at 55 miles per hour can cover the entire length of a football field in five seconds, all without looking at the road, while sending or reading a short text message.
Remember, even legal activities may show that a driver is liable in an accident. It is not illegal for a parent to talk to the children in the car, but a distracted parent who negligently causes an accident is still at fault.
Texas Distracted Driving Laws
Lawmakers have taken notice. In Sept. 2017, Texas followed the national trend and enacted the Alex Brown Memorial Act. Texting and driving is now banned. Additionally, any form of electronic communication is banned, including emailing, internet browsing, and posting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Essentially, drivers have to put their phones down while driving.
Audio calls are still permitted, but they must be taken on a hands-free device. The same goes for using GPS, streaming music and making emergency calls.
The consequences of breaking this new law are serious. If a person causes death or serious injury while texting and driving, he or she may face jail time of up to 12 months and $4,000 in fines.
Call Us Now
Here at Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, our lawyers understand the risks. We know the distracted driving laws in Austin, Texas, and what they mean for people who have been injured by careless drivers. We fight for your rights.
Remember, your rights to compensation may exist even without a criminal conviction. Contact us online or call us now at 512-593-7650 to set up a attorney consultation. We work for you with integrity, honesty and excellence.