In 2017, an estimated 391,000 drivers were injured because of distracted driving. All 50 states, including Texas, have taken action against distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a broad term that includes any activity that requires drivers to engage in something other than driving.
The activity may require drivers to take their eyes off of the road, for example. Or, it may reduce their attention span in other ways.
There are three primary types of distractions:
- Cognitive, which requires the driver to think about something other than driving;
- Visual, which requires the driver to look away from the road; and
- Manual, which requires the driver to take his or her hands off of the steering wheel
Using a cell phone is frequently cited as the cause of a distracted driving-related crash.
Texting while driving involves all three types of distractions: The driver must look at the screen, must type, and must think about the message that is being sent or received.
Sending a text message (or reading one) requires drivers to take their eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds.
If the driver is traveling at 55 miles an hour, it would be equivalent to the driver traveling the length of a football field blindfolded.
Other examples of distracted driving include eating, using a GPS, changing the radio station, and other such activities.
The Law in Texas
In Texas, it is illegal to text while driving.
However, Texas has not banned using a handheld device while driving. Therefore, it is legal to talk on the phone while driving, but not to send a text message.
The ban on sending text messages also includes sending or reading emails, photo messages, using social media, or making video calls.
Drivers who need to send a message must come to a complete stop to do so. Otherwise, they may face misdemeanor charges.
I Was Injured by a Distracted Driver in Texas, What Can I Do?
If you were injured by a distracted driver in Texas, you may be entitled to compensation.
Distracted driving is a type of negligence.
Accident victims who are injured by the negligence of another driver may be able to file a legal claim to recover damages.
The amount of compensation an injured victim is entitled to depend on the unique circumstances of the case.
In a distracted driving accident case, damages may include:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of employment benefits
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Remodeling costs, if wheelchair ramps, handrails, or similar accommodations were installed
Other types of damages may also be requested in a Texas personal injury case.
Your attorney will make sure that all available damages are pursued so that you are fairly compensated for your accident.
How Do You Prove a Driver Was Distracted?
Proving that a driver was distracted at the time of an accident can be challenging.
However, skilled Texas car accident attorneys know what types of evidence to look for to prove negligence.
In many distracted driving cases, there are eyewitnesses who report that the at-fault driver was swerving in and out of a lane or slowed down excessively.
These are two clues that a driver may be distracted.
The scene of the accident may also provide valuable evidence.
For example, if it is clear that a car never braked before colliding with another vehicle, this fact may be used to argue that the driver was distracted at the time of the accident.
Photographs and video surveillance footage are also useful in distracted driving cases.
Traffic cameras and even private security cameras may capture footage that is useful in an accident claim.