Starting on September 1, 2017, anyone over 18 years of age getting a drivers license for the first time will need to take a 1-hour online course similar to the course new drivers 15- to 17-years-old already take. This course, which is an effort of the “Impact Texas Young Drivers” program, aims to educate more motorists in Texas on distracted driving dangers.
Distracted Driving Course Goal is to Reduce Crashes Among all Texas Motorists
The Texas Department of Public Safety states that distracted driving contributed to an at least 109,000 crashes in 2016. These accidents resulted in more than 3,000 injuries.
Lonny Haschel, a DPS Trooper, says that “education is always a good thing” as he reminds us there are a lot of people sharing the same Texas roads each day. Haschel stresses the importance of limiting distractions while driving, which includes refraining from:
- Using electronics
- Programming mapping systems
- Attending to kids
- Getting too involved with passengers in the car
All of these things should be taken care of when a vehicle is stopped.
Scott Gonzales, a driver with Dallas Discount Towing for almost 2 decades, says that we used to be able to spot dangerous drivers like drunk drivers. Now, we have to wonder if a driver is being negligent due to texting behind the wheel or “Facebooking or something.”
Required Course Hopes to Add Another Layer of Education
The distracted driving online course hopefully will provide another layer of education for new drivers, despite their age. It’s not just young people that act irresponsibly. All new drivers in Texas will now need to look at the implications of distracted driving from a basic math perspective.
For example, it takes just 3 seconds driving at a speed of 65 mph to travel 100 yards. This is the length of a football field. A lot can happen within this distance, which means to stay safe on the road, keep other drivers safe, and look out for pedestrians, your eyes cannot be turned away for even 3 seconds.
Ways to Kick Distracted Driving to the Curb
Already licensed motorists can kick distracted driving to the curb, and potentially save lives, by paying attention to a few specific driving habits. Leaving tempting distractions like Kindles and iPads at home is a good idea, as is letting kids choose their own snacks and radio stations. If you must make an emergency phone call, pull over to the side of the road to keep everyone safe. Drivers who feel sleepy should not turn music up loud, but should instead pull over and rest – or ideally not drive in the first place.
Will the new required courses actually fulfill the goal of reducing vehicle crashes and personal injury? It’s too early to say, but any education on the dangerous realities of distracted driving seems to be heading in the right direction.
If you’ve been the victim of a distracted driver in the past and need assistance with legal compensation, the attorneys at Patterson Law Group want to help. Fill out the form on this page to contact us and we’ll be in touch with you promptly.