According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 100,825 traffic accidents in the state in 2014 that involved:
- Distraction behind the wheel
- Cellphone use
- Driver inattention
This means that nearly one in every five crashes in Texas involved driver distraction. Despite numerous educational campaigns and enforcement pushes at the state and federal levels, the total number of distracted driving accidents has risen since 2013. Because of these accidents over the course of a single year, 3,214 people in the state were seriously hurt, and 468 people died.
Why the rise in distracted-driving crashes? While there are a lot of factors to consider, it often boils down to the fact that many drivers are still not taking the dangers of distraction seriously—and it’s taking lives. Whether it’s a “just a peek” at an incoming text or a quick post to Facebook that takes drivers’ eyes and minds off the road, these common distracted behaviors are still causing fatal accidents.
Distracted Driving Statistics That Demand Your Attention
Distracted driving has a negative effect on real lives and real families. While the following numbers can be difficult to think about, we think it’s important that people truly understand just how big a problem distracted driving really is on our roadways.
Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that Texas had the highest number of deaths from fatal crashes in 2013 compared to all other states. While cellphone use or distracted driving is often underreported in fatal crashes, national statistics published by Distraction.gov show that distracted driving is a common behavior all over the United States:
- Across the United States, there are about 660,000 drivers using cellphones or electronic devices while driving every moment of every daylight hour every day.
- Using a handheld phone while driving triples the risk of a crash. Texting increases that risk exponentially.
- Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for approximately five seconds. At highway speeds, a driver can travel the length of a football field in that time—essentially blind.
- Using a headset instead of a handheld phone doesn’t significantly increase safety. Voice-to-text options may be even more dangerous than handheld texting.
Teens and Distraction
While drivers of every age are guilty of driving distracted, Distraction.gov points out that young drivers may have the most trouble avoiding distraction while driving, showing that:
- Ten percent of all drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted.
- About 25 percent of teens respond to a text message at least once every time they are behind the wheel.
- Twenty percent of teens say that have extended text conversations while behind the wheel.
Surviving Family Members of the Victims of Distracted Drivers Have Legal Rights
It’s clear that distracted driving is killing Texans, but the sad part is that these accidents are preventable. A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 69 percent of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 admitted to using a cellphone while driving within the past 30 days. This means that a majority of drivers are not taking their responsibilities seriously. Drivers who choose to use a cellphone, send a text, post to Facebook, take their hands off the wheel, or otherwise drive dangerously distracted can be held responsible for the harm they cause. Families who have lost loved ones and victims who have been seriously injured may have the right to seek compensation for what a distracted driver has put them through.
If you have suffered because of the actions of a dangerously distracted driver, don’t wait any longer to get informed about your legal rights. Call VB Attorneys today at 1-877-724-7800 to start investigating your case with our experienced attorneys.