Each day, countless car accidents occur on Texas roadways, and distracted driving accounts for a significant portion of them. Every year, April is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to bring greater attention to this kind of car accident and its impact on our lives.
Organizations that promote safe driving (e.g. the National Safety Council, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Texas Department of Transportation) use Distracted Driving Awareness Month to spotlight the dangers associated with distracted driving, but despite their great efforts, more must be done to protect the public and their rights.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined by any activity that takes attention away from driving, be it:
- Talking or texting on a phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers in your vehicle
- Adjusting the knobs or panels on your stereo, entertainment, or navigation systems
- Anything that diverts your attention away from safely driving
While any activity that takes focus away from a driver increases the potential from injury or death, texting has become the most prevalent and concerning distraction out of them all. Sending or reading a text can divert your attention for at least 5 seconds, and if you’re driving 55 mph, this is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
What Do the Statistics Say About Distracted Driving?
In 2019, the NHTSA reported that distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people. Every day, about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, and countless more are injured.
In addition to the human impact, driver distractions cost the U.S. economy $3.58 billion each month, according to a Harvard Center for Analysis study. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), employers are being held liable for up to $25 million for employee crashes, even when employees are using hands-free devices. As part of their efforts to protect employees and their finances, many employers are implementing corporate cell phone and texting bans.
While distracted driving can impact drivers of any age, statistics indicate that the more common demographic of people engaging in this risky behavior involves young adult and teen drivers. Twenty-five percent of distracted drivers involved in fatalities were young adults ages 20-29. Among drivers in fatal crashes, drivers ages 15-19 were more likely to be distracted than drivers ages 20 and older.
How to Stay Safe on Texas Roadways
Arriving safely to a destination is the goal of all drivers, and while grim statistics are frequently reported when discussing roadway safety, there are things drivers can do to keep safe while traveling on Texas roads and highways.
Many involve habits that become second-nature when practiced regularly. Among these are:
- Avoid multitasking while driving. That includes adjusting mirrors, selecting music on your radio, eating, making a phone call, or reading or sending a text or email. Do this before you begin your journey, or when you’ve arrived safely to your destination.
- Use apps that prevent you from engaging in risky behavior on your phone. Cell phone blocking technology exists to help prevent you from using your phone while behind the wheel. These are most often used by parents of teens–even employers–and prohibits calling or texting while a vehicle is in motion. These apps help eliminate the risks associated with phone use while driving.
- Passengers in a car can help prevent distracted driving by asking. Reminding a driver to focus their eyes on the road and their attention on driving is something that a passenger can do as well. A passenger may also help a driver with navigation assistance or other tasks while inside the vehicle to reduce the risk of an accident.
- Parents can play a major role in helping their teens or young adults learn about safe driving. Share information and statistics about distracted driving, and help them identify ways to prevent engaging in this kind of behavior while behind the wheel.
The Dedicated Car Accident Attorneys at J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys Help Distracted Driving Accident Victims
No parent, family member or friend ever wants to receive notice that their loved one was involved in an accident. Distracted driving is unfortunately a common reality in today’s world, and a distraction while behind the wheel can give rise to risk of serious injury or death.
McAllen car accident attorney J. Gonzalez can help you find the road back to recovery. Call today if you or a loved one has been involved in a crash or collision with a distracted driver.
Involved in a Car Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver? Contact J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys today to schedule your FREE, no obligation case evaluation!