The Case For Cell Phones/Distracted Drivers

Distracted driving is becoming more common and increasingly dangerous as a cause of traffic accidents. Distracted driving can include distraction, driver inattention or cell phone use. The problem has reached the point where the month of April is now recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. There is now a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, encouraging Americans to put down their cell phones while driving.

Distracted driving can be defined as an any activity that redirects a person’s attention away from the foremost responsibility of driving. Every distraction, no matter how minor, endangers the safety of the occupants of the vehicle as well as the public at large. Distractions come in all forms, including:

  • Texting or otherwise using a cellular phone
  • Using GPS devices
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting audio or climate controls
  • Other occupants
  • Outside people or events (rubbernecking)
  • Reading

The Increasing Problem of Cell Phone Use While Driving

Over the past decade, general cell phone use has dramatically increased, as has the use of cell phones while driving. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 28 percent of all crashes each year involve cell phone use. Not surprisingly, cell phone use while driving is the #1 distraction to drivers.

In addition, a study by the NSC has shown that talking on a cell phone while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by four times, and texting while driving increases your chances anywhere from eight to 23 times!

The Numbers don’t Lie

Driver distractions are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes and near-crashes. According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with the  Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. And in most cases, the distractions occurred a mere three seconds before the crash.

Distractions, along with alcohol and speeding, are now the leading causes of fatality and serious injury crashes. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2013 there were 94,943 traffic crashes in Texas that involved distracted driving (distraction, driver inattention, or cell-phone use). These crashes resulted in 18,576 serious injuries and 459 deaths. In fact, nearly one in five crashes in Texas involves driver distraction!

Current State Law and Municipal Ordinances

Unfortunately for Texans, there is currently no statewide law banning the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. However, many municipalities have adopted ordinances that prohibit or limit the use of cell phones while driving. According to the Texas Department of Transportation and a report compiled by the Texas House of Representatives, the following cities have enacted such an ordinance:

  • Alamo
  • Arlington
  • Austin
  • Bellaire
  • Brownsville
  • Conroe
  • El Paso
  • Galveston
  • Harlingen
  • Magnolia
  • McAllen
  • Mission
  • Missouri City
  • Mount Vernon
  • Nacogdoches
  • Palmview
  • Penitas
  • San Antonio
  • Shoreacres
  • Stephenville
  • Tomball

In addition, Texas drivers are prohibited from using cell phones in school zones, an offense that can result in fines being doubled. School bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present. Several statutes also prohibit or limit the use of cell phones by newly licensed drivers or those operating vehicles with only a driver’s permit.

turn to the farah law firm for your distracted driving accident

As the number and frequencies of distractions we encounter while driving increase, the chance of you or a loved one being injured or killed by a distracted driver increase as well. If you or someone you know have been injured or killed by a distracted driver, you need someone on your side to obtain the justice you deserve. The Attorneys at The Farah Law Firm are dedicated to using their expertise in personal injury law to help those wrongfully injured. Don’t become just another statistic.  Contact The Farah Law Firm today for your FREE consultation.

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Farah Law Firm Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers