In Texas, distracted drivers using cell phones cause one out of five car crashes. This alarming trend has become such a widespread epidemic that in 2014, there were 100, 825 collisions involving distracted drivers. Of these accidents, 3,214 suffered serious injuries and 468 drivers or passengers died as a result. This is a 6% increase from 2013.
It’s important to understand that when driving, our attention is the most important factor. Sudden hazards such as a car quickly braking or an animal darting onto the street can cause a loss of control, resulting in an accident. In other cases, being distracted while using a phone can be devastating. This was the unfortunate case for four teenagers who were tragically involved in an accident where cell phone use is believed to have been a factor.
A Tragic Incident
On their return from South Padre Island in March, four teenage girls from Houston were driving on Highway 77 near Corpus Christi when their car spun out of control and struck an 18-wheeler. Authorities believe the driver was using her cell phone as a GPS device and became distracted.
Two of the passengers died at the scene while a third was taken to a Corpus Christi hospital but died shortly after. The driver was also taken to a Corpus Christi hospital where she remains in critical condition. The driver of the 18-wheeler came away unharmed from the accident.
Against the Law
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, drivers using their cell phones have a higher risk of causing an accident regardless of whether or not he/she is using a hands-free device or phone. Although Texas does not have a statewide law banning texting and driving, many cities across the state, including a few in the Rio Grande Valley, enforce bans on cell phone use while operating a vehicle.
In McAllen, Mission and Brownsville, fines can range from $200-$500 dollars for this offense. There are also laws across the state banning texting and using handheld devices when driving in a school zone. Also, all drivers under 18 are prohibited from using wireless devices.
While texting behind the wheel is the most recognizable form of inattentive driving, there are many other forms that can cause devastating car crashes, including changing radio stations or eating. The Texas Department of Transportation is calling on all Texans to focus on the road and ignore distractions.
Let Us Help You
Getting into an accident regardless of the cause can be a huge hassle. The injuries you might suffer and costs incurred can be more than enough to deal with. For drivers who have found themselves victims of negligent driving where a distraction played a role, it can be hard to figure out what to do next. If that happens, do not hesitate to give the J. Gonzalez Law Firm in McAllen a call. We can get you the compensation you need to get your life back in order.