There are few driving habits out there as dangerous as driving while distracted. Whether you’re checking your phone “really quickly,” using the GPS, or messing around with your car’s touchscreen or radio, distracted driving is a habit we can easily fall into without even being aware of how often we do it. How did these behaviors become so prevalent while we drive? The fact is, distracted driving is now an epidemic in our country, and the problem only seems to be getting worse. Despite the fact that texting and driving and is illegal in Texas and 46 other states, we still see drivers on their cell phones while on U.S. roads. Many cities throughout the country even have additional local ordinances in place banning any and all cell phone use while driving. Unfortunately, these rules still aren’t deterring people from partaking in these dangerous driving behaviors.
What is the Law?
Technology and cell phone use don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Fortunately, numerous nationwide initiatives have been put into place to prevent drivers from using their phones or giving in to distractions; but are they working? Read below to get the latest scoop on distracted driving laws and the dangers that remain.
In September of 2017, Texas enacted a statewide ban on texting while driving in an effort to curb automobile accidents caused by distracted driving. Though the law explicitly discusses texting on one’s mobile device, it does not mention texting or interacting with wearable technology while driving. A study conducted by the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA) revealed wearable devices are just as distracting for drivers as cell phones.
Despite having laws in place and emergent research detailing the life-threatening risks of distracted driving behaviors, the prevalence of cell phone use and giving in to distractions persists. Unfortunately, not all drivers realize or respect the laws that have been established to make our roads safer.
Distracted Driving Facts
- At least nine Americans die and at least 1,000 are injured daily due to distracted driving.
- In 2018, 2,841 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.
- Cell phone use is highest among people between the ages of 16 and 24.
- Drivers under the age of 20 have a highest rate of distraction-related car accidents.
- Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while driving (this means you can cover the entirety of a football field if driving 55 MPH).
- NHTSA reports approximately 660,000 drivers use cell phones while driving during daylight hours across America.
The Dangers of Multitasking
Many people wrongfully assume they are good at multitasking, but this is actually a myth. When the brain is forced to do more than one thing at once, it cannot perform any of the tasks to its fullest ability. This results in a much slower reaction time and decreased cognitive function. On average, drivers talking on their cell phones while behind the wheel can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environment. These drivers could miss pedestrians, traffic lights or signs, or even other cars.
Talking Is Just as Dangerous as Texting
There is no safe way to use a cell phone while driving. Many drivers believe talking on the phone rather than texting is a safer alternative, but studies have revealed this simply isn’t true. Texting while driving only accounts for 5% of cell phone related crashes, while drivers talking on cell phones cause the rest. Using hands free technology isn’t a safer alternative either. Whether drivers are using talk-to-text or hands free calling, they are at the same risk for causing an auto accident.
Millions of Americans wear smart watches that display certain data and perform basic activities. No matter how wearable technology is worn, it presents a serious danger while driving. Though there is currently no law in place prohibiting the use of wearable technology while driving in Texas, texting while driving is illegal. Distracted driving behaviors are incredibly dangerous; and, drivers that cause car accidents while driving distracted should face personal injury lawsuits by the victims. Victims of texting and driving accidents have a legal right to seek compensation from the responsible party.
Follow the Two-Second Rule
What most people don’t know is that even taking your eyes off the road for two seconds can cause or contribute to car crashes. The Lubbock car accidents attorneys at Liggett Law Group see these tragic accidents too often, and want to make sure drivers understand the two-second rule for driving. In an article from The New York Times, the Auto Alliance – a manufacturers’ trade group – states, “The odds of a crash double if your eyes are off the road for more than two seconds.”
Rather than try and stop distracted driving behavior altogether, manufacturers are offering technological solutions to lessen distractions. These include features such as head-up displays that project speed and other information onto the windshield of the car, audio alerts when the car begins to drift into another lane, blind spot detection, automatic braking when coming towards another car or pedestrian, and cross-traffic warnings. These auto safety technologies are proving effective. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, forward-collision warning systems with automatic braking have the ability to cut rear-end crashes by 50 percent, and rear cross-traffic alerts reduce accidents by 33 percent.
Texas Distracted Driving Accident Help
There is no excuse for a negligent act as dangerous and potentially deadly as distracted driving. Keeping the facts above in mind and putting your phone away while you drive can make a huge difference in keeping Texas roads safe. If you or a loved one was a victim of a car accident caused by a distracted driver, we can help. Contact Liggett Law Group today for a free consultation.