Distracted Driver Accidents in TExas
In 2018, there were 540,561 motor vehicle crashes on Texas roadways. Of those, 95,572, or 18%, were caused by distracted driving (driver distraction, inattention or cell phone use). The 95,572 distracted driving crashes resulted in 394 deaths and 2,340 serious injuries.
Distracted driving continues to be a problem in Texas as data indicates drivers are not changing their behaviors. With one in five crashes involving distracted driving, a ratio that has not changed in the past four years, the Texas Department of Transportation aims to raise awareness and educate drivers about the dangers associated with distracted driving and encourage them to put away their cellphones while behind the wheel. The Talk. Text. Crash. Campaign, along with #EndTheStreakTX and Heads Up, Texas, focuses on safety measure drivers can take to make traveling our roadways safer for themselves and others.
Effective Sept. 1, 2017, state law prohibits drivers from reading, writing or sending electronic messages on mobile phones while driving.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distractions can include anything from texting and talking on a mobile phone to eating and drinking, putting on makeup, shaving, reading, programming a navigation system, watching a video and even adjusting the radio.
Distracted driving injury compensation
No case value is ever the same, but there are a few basic things to understand. A personal injury case is usually valued based on damages such as cost of medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A settlement typically includes:
Past and future medical bills
Lost income and future lost income
Pain and suffering
A driver who was severely injured may have a higher settlement value than someone who was not injured. In certain cases of extreme negligence, a lawyer may be able to argue for punitive damages on behalf of their client.
Fault plays a role in the value of a case. In distracted driving cases, it may more likely that the other party must assume 100% of fault. With a clear liability, the insurance company is less likely to oppose a settlement. That may make the process quicker, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a lawyer. A personal injury settlement depends on every party’s liability in the crash. Don’t forget that the insurance adjuster is looking out for the interests of their employer only.
just some of Our success with distracted driving cases
Distracted driver rear-ended our client, who was operating a tractor on the highway. Client received $1,710,406.47. Fees $1,180,000.00. Expenses $59,593.53.
Distracted driver struck and killed a pedestrian walking alongside a highway. Clients received $519,011.57. Fees $380,000.00. Expenses $16,233.38.
How do you prove distracted driving?
At Webb Cason, we are experienced investigators. Evidence of texting and driving can be found at the scene of the crash, on cell phone records or in social media activity.
Crash scene evidence: No brake marks at the scene of the crash could mean the driver failed to see the vehicle they struck. Other evidence of driver distraction could include food, a makeup kit, or another electronic device.
Cell phone records: We will obtain the cell phone records to determine whether he or she was texting or talking during the crash.
Social media activity: A social media post or records of posting while driving could show the driver was on their phone during the accident.
Eyewitness statements: Other people may have seen the driver talking or texting.
Act quickly at the scene of the crash to record and gather this information.
Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
After nearly a decade of attempts, a texting ban has been passed statewide in Texas. It went into effect September 1st, 2017 and it comes with a few exceptions.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill, but said that he “was not satisfied with the law as it was written.” He went on to say that he doesn’t want to see a patchwork quilt of driving regulations in the state. If a preemptive law were passed in the 2019 Texas legislative session, that would affect city ordinances in Austin and a dozen other cities across Texas.
A statewide ban for drivers of all ages finally passed during the 2017 legislative session in Texas. Since September 1, 2017, drivers in Texas have been prohibited from using Instagram, Texting, Facebook, Whatsapp and all other use of devices while behind the wheel. The few exceptions are:
Using a phone when the vehicle is stopped.
Playing music when operating a car’s stereo system.
Employing a car’s stereo system to access a map (such as Google Maps)
Texas was one of the last four states to pass a life-saving statewide texting ban. In four previous sessions of the Texas legislature lawmakers proposed versions of a statewide distracted driving bill. It took until the 2017 session of the Texas Legislative session to turn things around.
In March the Texas House voted 114-32 to pass the legislation. Lawmakers made one amendment to the bill to ensure drivers don’t get fined twice for a distracted driving offense. That is, if a municipality already has a distracted driving ordinance on the books the driver could only face one penalty.
The law allows law enforcement to pull over an individual as a primary offense. That means that an officer is able to pull a driver over simply for using their phone while driving.
Distracted driving facts
Did You Know? A 2006 study found that driver inattention was the leading factor in crashes and near-crashes. The study found that nearly 80 percent of crashes involved some form of driver inattention in the 3 seconds before the crash or near-crash.
Did You Know? A three-year data collection effort by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that an estimated 11,000 truck crashes nationwide involved distractions external to the truck cab.
Did You Know? Billboards and other advertisements near the road are meant to get your attention. However, anything that takes your eyes off the road ahead can be a distraction. Aim to minimize the amount of time you spend looking at these objects.
An example of a driver distracted by something outside of the truck is shown in the video clip below. Training exercise questions follow the video clip.
Did You Know? A 2009 study of real-world driving found that text messaging while driving increased a driver’s chances of being involved in a safety-critical event by 23 times. This study found that, in the moments before a safety-critical event, drivers who were texting while driving spent nearly 5 seconds looking at their phone.
Did You Know? Based largely on a 2009 landmark study of driver distraction in trucking, FMCSA banned texting while driving for commercial drivers. This study was so compelling that President Obama issued Executive Order 13513, banning all federal employees from texting while driving on government business.
Did You Know? If you are driving at 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds to write a text message, you have traveled the length of a football field (end zones included) without looking at the road.
An example of a driver distracted by sending a text message is shown in the video clip below. Training exercise questions follow the video clip.
Did You Know? A 2010 study of real-world driving found that dialing a handheld cell phone while driving increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by 3 times.84
A 2011 study found that drivers who were dialing a handheld cell phone made more frequent and larger steering corrections than drivers who were only talking on the phone.
An example of a driver distracted by a cell phone is shown in the video clip below. Training exercise questions follow the video clip.