Texas motorists may benefit from stricter cellphone laws

Cellular technology has transformed the way people interact and communicate with one another. Smartphones allow people to check their email, post a status update, send and receive text messages, watch movies, program navigational devices and play games all from the convenience of a hand-held cellular device. Unfortunately, many drivers in Texas and around the country continue to engage in these activities while driving, putting other motorists on the road at risk of being involved in devastating auto accidents.

A deadly problem for Texas drivers

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, distracted driving auto accidents are on the rise. In 2013, there were 94,943 accidents involving inattentive drivers in Texas and approximately 459 people were killed in those collisions. Distraction.gov reported that 3,328 people died in distracted driving accidents nationwide. While some states have implemented strict laws banning cellphone use and driving in order to decrease the number of distracted driving accidents and injuries, Texas has yet to place a cellphone ban for all motorists in the state.

Texas distracted driving laws

Although Texas bans texting and driving for beginning drivers, bus drivers and motorists who are traveling through school zones, all other motorists are able to text and drive without any legal consequences, according to distraction.gov. Beginning drivers and bus drivers are also banned from using any type of cellular device while driving. Currently, 44 states in the nation ban texting and driving for all motorists, and 14 states prohibit drivers from talking on a hand-held device. Certain Texas lawmakers and residents alike have advocated for stricter cellphone laws; however, none have been implemented as of yet.

Distractive activities

Most people think that using a cellphone for talking or text messaging while driving is the only form of distracted driving. However, there are many other types of distractions that can be dangerous while on the road. Distraction.gov defines distraction as any activity that removes the driver's immediate focus off of the road and the task of driving. These include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Programming a navigation device
  • Reading
  • Picking up items off of the floor
  • Adjusting the radio, CD player or DVD player
  • Carrying on a conversation over the phone or with other passengers in the car

These tasks can be categorized into three types of distractions: visual, manual and cognitive. A driver can be visually distracted when they remove their eyes from the road, and manually distracted when they take their hands off of the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions occur when the driver is no longer focusing on driving, but concentrating on something else while behind the wheel. All types of distractions increase the likelihood of car accidents, fatalities and injuries.

Contact an attorney

People who have been involved in a distracted driving car accident may be unable to work, and may suffer from catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, paralysis or loss of limbs. Traumatic auto collisions can also cause extensive emotional damage and decrease a person's ability to live their life to the fullest. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help people suffering from injuries, regain a portion of their life by getting them the compensation they deserve for their case.