In an article published by TexasMonthly in 2019, Houston and Dallas, Texas topped the charts as the two cities in the nation with the most drivers being distracted by their phones. While it's hard to track the exact number of accidents that are caused due to phone-usage, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that over 3,100 people were killed as a result of distracted driving in 2019 alone (an increase from the 2,800 killed in 2018).
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, it is unlawful for anyone to text while driving anywhere in the state. Drivers with learners permits or drivers who are under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cellphones at all while operating a vehicle. Specific phone usage laws can vary from one city to the next, so it's important to become familiar with the rules for any city you are driving in.
Although texting and driving is not allowed, it does not mean that all motorists follow the rules. Car accidents caused by texting drivers still happen hundreds of times a day in America, especially in populated areas like Houston.
Did you get hit by a texting and driving motorist? The law might hold them criminally accountable, but you need to hold them civilly accountable for your damages. Get the help of Dunk Law Firm and our Houston texting and driving accident attorneys to manage your claim. Our decades of collective legal experience can be put to good use for you!
There are many forms of driver distraction, which are all bad behaviors. Why is texting and driving considered to be the “worst of the worst,” though? The answer lies in how texting behind the wheel will engage a driver in three distinct forms of distraction at once.
There are three forms of driver distraction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Picking up a smartphone to read or send a text checks off all three of these types of driver distractions. Looking at the phone is a visual distraction, picking it up or texting is a manual distraction, and reading or thinking about a text is a cognitive distraction.
Cognitive or mental distractions are even worse than they might seem because they are believed to linger. The National Safety Council (NSC) has estimated that cognitive distractions last at least 30 seconds per incident. In regard to reading a text, a driver would still be thinking about that message for half a minute after putting the phone away.
Researchers estimate that texting while driving doubles your likelihood of being involved in a car accident. The average text message takes about 5 seconds to read (source), but in those few seconds that your eyes are off the road, you can drive the entire length of a football field (about 360 feet). Most distracted driving accidents occur within 3 seconds of taking your eyes off the road.
Another study conducted by the NHTSA reported that drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 are most likely to respond to a text or answer their phone while driving. Drivers under the age of 25 are the most likely to use their phone while driving, and also the least likely to confront their friends when they do the same.
No driver wants to ever admit that they were texting and driving because they understand the behavior is inherently reckless and oftentimes unlawful. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that as few as 5-to-10% of drivers say they text and drive, yet the number is surely much higher. Looking around while stopped at an intersection will usually cause you to notice at least one driver looking at their phone.
To prove that the other driver was texting when they hit you, we can use:
This is an important question, primarily because gross negligence or reckless disregard are the qualifications for obtaining punitive damages in most personal injury cases. Punitive damages are damages that are added onto your settlement when the driver responsible for your accident can be proven to have been acting in a manner that was particularly reckless or dangerous to other drivers (drinking and driving is a common example). While there is no set rule about whether or not texting and driving is considered gross negligence, this can sometimes be argued for in your case, depending on the circumstances. Most drivers are aware that by texting and driving they are putting other drivers at risk, and by still choosing to do so are acting in a willfully negligent manner. Want to learn more? Speak with our team today about your accident!
Our community is important to us here at Dunk Law Firm in Houston, Texas. When we hear from someone who has been hurt by a reckless texting driver, we take the claim to heart. We can manage your case as if we are representing ourselves and pursue every last penny of compensation on your behalf, which is exactly what we have been doing since we first opened our law firm in 2004.