Distracted Driving Accident Attorney in Houston
Insight from Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers
Distracted drivers are one of the biggest dangers on America's roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, about 3,450 fatalities occured in accidents caused by distracted driving. Although driver distraction is by no means a new danger, recent technological advancements have made distracted driving more widespread and dangerous.
Some of the common forms of distracted driving include:
- Eating and drinking
- Using a cell phone or personal electronic device
- Personal grooming or hygiene
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching videos
- Talking to passengers
- Adjusting a radio or CD player
At Stern Law Group, we are committed to helping those who have been injured by distracted drivers. If you want to find out how a Houston car accident attorney at our firm can help you, please call for a free consultation. You can also continue reading to learn more about these collisions and your rights if you have been injured.
Safe Driving Requires Three Forms of Attention
To safely operate a motor vehicle, a driver should have his or her full attention on the road and the task at hand. There are three primary forms of attention required for safe, distraction-free driving: visual, manual and cognitive. Here we will look at these and how they can be adversely affected, thus detracting from one's ability to drive safely.
Visual attention refers to a driver's eyes on the road. A driver needs to be looking at the road and checking side and rearview mirrors regularly in order to notice changes in traffic patterns, traffic signs, obstacles in the road and more. Anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road poses a threat because a driver may not observe a hazard or even a simple curve in the road until it is too late. Texting while driving and looking at an in-vehicle navigation system are examples of distractions that would affect visual attention.
Manual attention refers to a driver's hands on the wheel. A driver should have both hands on the steering wheel at all times so he or she can effectively maneuver the vehicle in normal and potentially hazardous conditions. Anything that takes one or both of a driver's hands from the wheel may be dangerous, such as eating while driving, applying makeup, lighting a cigarette or adjusting the radio.
Cognitive attention refers to a driver's mental attention on the task at hand. A driver needs to be thinking about what he or she is doing in order to drive safely. Mental distractions can be just as dangerous as visual or manual distractions, leading to serious collisions. Some examples of situations that may affect cognitive attention include texting, talking on the phone (even on a hands-free device) or talking to a passenger.
Cell Phones and Distracted Drivers
While all forms of distracted driving are inherently dangerous, texting while driving is by far the most alarming. This is because using a cell phone to text message commands a driver's visual, manual, and cognitive attention simultaneously. According to a survey by the NHTSA, about 9% of drivers are using a cell phone at any given daylight moment. A driver who is using a cell phone while driving is estimated to be about four times more likely to be involved in an accident, according to an NSC fact sheet. Texting while driving places drivers at a significantly increased crash risk, of about 23 times.
According to the NHTSA website www.distraction.gov:
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
- Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.
The consequences of texting accidents can be severe as drivers who text frequently fail to slow down or attempt to avoid a collision before it happens. As of 2017, Texas has issued a statewide ban on text messaging for all drivers. This means that ALL written communications are banned while driving, including sending text messages and scrolling or messaging through social media.
Texting behind the wheel is nothing short of careless behavior that endangers all others on the road. If texting played a role in your car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, or other road traffic incident, the negligent driver must be held responsible. In addition, you deserve to be compensated fairly for the damages you suffered, including compensation for your physical injuries, expenses, and any emotional damages that occurred.
Help for Car Accident Victims in Houston
If you were hit by a distracted driver, call a Houston car accident attorney at our firm. We know you may be wondering what right you have to compensation and what your claim may be worth. With a legal professional to protect your best interests through the entire claims process, you can focus on healing. Allow Stern Law Group to seek justice on your behalf so you can move on with your life. Call our offices today.