Distracted driving is a very common cause of traffic accidents in Texas and the U.S. Recent studies indicate that distracted driving has been on the rise during the last few years. Phone use, and especially texting while driving, has become much more prevalent. These days, most people don’t just receive text messages on their phones, but also emails, Facebook messages, Twitter messages, etc. Often people don’t wait until they’re stopped or out of their car to read and answer these messages. Texting while driving is a very dangerous activity. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), if you’re texting while driving, you’re three times as likely to get into a car accident. Though texting while driving is not yet illegal in all of Texas, that doesn’t mean you can’t prove a driver was liable for your accident because they were texting. If a driver was distracted by texting, or any other distracting behavior when the accident occurred and it can be shown that this caused the accident, they can be held liable and you may be able to recover your damages from the negligent driver.
You Are More Distracted Than You Think
According to the NTHSA statistics, about 660,000 drivers are using their phones or another electronic device while driving at any given daytime moment in the U.S. Every time a person uses an electronic device, their attention is taken off the road for a significant amount of time. On average, a person who’s sending or reading a text while behind the wheel takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, this means that they’re not looking at the road for the entire length of a football field. Especially among teenagers and younger people, texting while driving is a serious problem that is causing a lot of accidents on our roads. More than 20 percent of all accidents that involve drivers between 15 and 19 years old are caused by distraction due to cell phone use. Studies also show that using a hands-free device for calling in the car isn’t significantly safer than just holding the device since a driver’s attention is still diverted away from the road. It is obvious that texting and other distracting behavior is a serious problem for road safety.
If you regularly use your phone while driving, whether it be for making a phone call, sending a text message, or posting a Facebook status, you should make it a habit to put away your phone and set it to silent when you are driving. Not only is this type of distracting behavior very dangerous, it might cause you to be involved in a serious car crash, and if you get into a crash, you’ll be more likely to be held liable, even if the distracting behavior didn’t actually cause the accident. While at the steering wheel, your attention should be focused on the road and the traffic situation around you at all times.
A Distracted Driver Can Be Held Liable
Texting while driving often causes drivers to overlook pedestrians and cyclists in traffic, which can lead to horrible accidents that cause severe injuries or even death. Distracted drivers also often don’t react on time when a car or motorcycle in front of them is breaking, or making a maneuver, leading to rear-end collisions. For a car or truck driver, a rear-end collision tends to have the least serious consequences (though at high speeds they can still be very dangerous), for a motorcycle, on the other hand, getting hit by a car from behind can have deadly repercussions. Whether legal or not in the state you’re driving in, texting or engaging in or any other distracting behavior while driving can be seen as an act of negligence. If negligence can be proven and it can be shown that this caused the car crash, compensation for resulting damages can be sought from the negligent driver.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, whether the distracted behavior that they were engaged in is legal or not, doesn’t actually matter if you are filing a personal injury claim. If the driver’s distraction caused the accident, they may be able to be held liable for the car crash due to negligence. To get compensated for your injuries, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who can help you file your personal injury claim. Proving negligence can be difficult in a distracted driver case, which is why it is important to hire an attorney who has experience with distracted driver cases.
After Your Accident
If you’ve been in an accident involving a distracted driver, it is important that you write down as much as you can remember from the accident right after it happened. Try to include as many details as you can remember, and if you saw that other driver was on the phone when the accident happened or engaged in any other distracting behavior, make sure to write this down. Also get the contact information from the other driver and any potential witnesses. Their testimony can be very important for proving negligence if you file a personal injury claim. Get yourself fully checked out by a physician as soon as possible after the accident so you have a medical report of all the injuries that you sustained. Even if you don’t think you were hurt, you should still see a doctor. Sometimes injuries such as traumatic brain injury don’t immediately show symptoms after an accident.
In most cases and especially if you sustained serious injuries, you should contact a personal injury attorney who can help you prove the distracted driver’s negligence and recover compensation for your damages.
Austin Car Accident Attorneys
At Colley & Colley, LLP we’ve been defending the rights of people who have been injured in car accidents for more than 30 years. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you deserve to receive the compensation that is needed to start putting your life back together. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.