Distracted Driving Accidents

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Pursuing Compensation After a Distracted Driving Accident

One of the amazing things about technology is that we now have a variety of apps and services at our fingertips that allow us to access our bank accounts, hail rides, and see our loved ones’ faces in real time. One negative consequence of this, however, is that more people than ever are distracted by their phones and gadgets – even while they’re operating vehicles. For more than four years, one in five crashes in Texas has involved distracted driving, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Because all drivers are required to be focused on the road at all times, distracted driving can be considered negligent. If you’ve been harmed in an accident by a driver who was on their phone at the time of the crash, you may have a case. Chris Morrow Law, PLLC has decades of experience filing car accident claims and can get you the results you need to completely recover from your injuries and move on with your life.

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What is Distracted Driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is any activity that takes away a driver’s attention from driving and the road. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and contributed to the deaths of 3,166 people in car crashes in 2017 alone. When people are distracted, they can miss important traffic signs like red lights, pedestrians who are crossing the street, and drivers who are slowing down in front of them.

The CDC divides distractions into three main categories, including:

  • Visual: These distractions take a person’s eyes off the road. Using your phone to text, access your navigation app, and make a call are all visual distractions, and taking your eyes away from the road for a few seconds is more than enough time to prevent you from responding to an emergency before crashing.
  • Manual: Distracted driving can also involve you taking your hands off the wheel, preventing you from being able to control your driving or swerve to avoid an obstacle. Manual distractions can include using your hands to hold drinks or eat food while driving.
  • Cognitive: Drivers can be distracted even when their eyes are technically trained on the road. When your mind is distracted, it’s easy to doze off or fail to notice what’s right in front of you. You may be distracted if you’re having a fight or conversation with someone else in the car, stressed out about work, or taking a hands-free phone call.

Anyone can be responsible for distracted driving accidents, though it’s worth noting that in 2018, 25 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were young adults aged 20 to 29. Due to the fact that young people are more tech savvy, they’re also more likely to be on their phones while driving – that, and they lack the experience that older drivers have.

What Causes the Most Distracted Driving Accidents?

Cellphone use and texting while driving are some of the most common distractions that lead to serious car accidents. Because of this, many states have laws against texting and driving and laws that limit cellphone usage while behind the wheel.

Other Forms of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can take many shapes. Below are some of the most common types of driver distractions:

  • Texting
  • Talking on phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Putting on makeup or shaving
  • Talking to passengers
  • Reaching for something
  • Fiddling with the radio or music
  • Using a navigation system
  • Reading
  • Watching videos
  • Rubbernecking
Texas Distracted Driving Laws

In Texas it is illegal to text while driving anywhere in the state. When it comes to cellphone usage, laws vary depending on which city you are in. Some other rules to keep in mind regarding distracted driving in Texas include:

  • Drivers who have learner’s permits are not allowed to use a cellphone at all within the first 6 months of driving
  • Using a phone while driving in a school zone is against the law
  • Drivers under the age of 18 may not use any handheld devices while driving
  • In 2015 Austin adopted a hands-free policy which prohibits using any handheld electronic devices while driving
  • School bus drivers are prohibited from using cellphones while driving as long as there are children present
Texas Distracted Driving Statistics

In 2020 alone, there were 367 deaths and over 2,200 serious injuries related to distracted driving accidents in Texas. As mentioned earlier, nearly one in every five crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving (according to the Texas DOT). In 2021 distracted driving was reported to still be #2 on the list for traffic-related crash causes.

What to Do After a Distracted Driving Accident

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and wish to recover damages, you can potentially increase your chances of winning your claim by following a list of steps immediately after your crash. Your main priority, however, should be seeking medical attention for any injuries you have – even if you think you’re unharmed. Some injuries don’t appear until hours or days following the crash, and the longer you wait to get treated, the worst the symptoms can become.

While waiting for medical attention and if you’re able, make sure to do the following:

  • Call the authorities: Police responding to the scene of a car accident are required to interview those involved and file a crash report, which you can get a copy of to support your claim. This report may take note of the fact that the at-fault driver was doing something other than focusing on the road at the time of the crash.
  • Collect information: Take photos and videos of the property damage and your injuries, and don’t forget to collect the personal information of witnesses who can respond with statements of what they saw. If the at-fault driver let it slip to you that they were on their phones or that they’re sorry, make note of this, if possible.
  • Call an Austin distracted driving accident lawyer: Experienced personal injury lawyers know what to look for at the scene of an accident that victims may have missed. When you hire Chris Morrow, he can use his relationships with medical professionals to help you seek treatment.

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid a car accident because you can only control your own actions. However, we recommend keeping note of any strange driving behaviors such as a car swerving on the road or drifting into other lanes, as this may mean the driver is on their phone or otherwise distracted. If you do get into a collision, don’t hesitate to call our team for help.

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At Chris Morrow Law, we work for you and we won’t stop until you get the compensation you deserve.

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