According to a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of motorists admitted to receiving or sending text messages or emails while driving. This figure has dramatic implications for public safety on roadways. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study shows that a person is 23 percent more likely to get in a car accident while texting.
Texting is a major cause of car accidents because it reduces attentiveness in three ways. First, drivers must look away from the road. Second, motorists must have at least one hand off of the steering wheel. Third, texting diverts cognitive attention from decisions that must be made on the road.
Reflecting concerns about the dangers of texting while driving, recent laws have made it illegal in some areas of Texas. In addition to being held legally responsible, drivers who text may also be liable for damages they cause in auto accidents.
What Texting And Driving Looks Like
It’s relatively easy to spot people who are busy texting while driving. Their faces may not be visible as they bend down to look at their phones. Many of these motorists are steering with their knees, and their attention seems to be focused anywhere but on the road.
These factors can lead to dangerous roadway behaviors, including:
Inconsistent vehicle distances. Looking down may not allow a person to see when traffic slows. A driver may strike (or nearly) strike a vehicle that is in front of him or her.
Moving around in a lane. Texting drivers often move about within a lane. Often with neither hand on the wheel, they’re unable to maintain a consistent path within traffic.
Crossing beyond lane lines. Motorists who are distracted by texting may veer over a traffic line, potentially causing a collision with another vehicle.
Reduced reaction time. Texting drivers are often slow to see and recognize roadway hazards. They may be forced to brake hard, thus increasing the potential for accidents.
While drivers of all ages text while driving, it is young drivers who most often engage in the behavior. Text messaging among novice drivers can be especially dangerous given these motorists’ relative inexperience behind the wheel. Acknowledging this fact, Texas state law prohibits texting, and cellphone use of all kinds, among drivers who are under 18 years of age.
When Texting Causes Car Accidents
If you’ve been in an accident involving a texting motorist, you may feel anger or resentment. It can be painful to know that another person’s irresponsible actions are the cause of your physical injuries and emotional suffering. It might not seem fair that you’re the one who must somehow deal with expensive medical bills, car repair costs, and other expenses. Maybe injuries keep you from working, and lost wages are harming your family’s financial standing.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is one way to hold another person accountable for their actions. An experienced lawyer can help you recover compensation for damages associated with a car accident involving texting or another cellphone-related car accident. An attorney will collect evidence supporting your claim, including eyewitness interviews and phone records that show a person was texting or talking.