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Lax Distracted Driving Laws Increase Chance of Personal Injury in Houston

A recent story that made headlines across Houston was that of a trucker who, because he was distracted by his cell phone while driving, caused an auto accident so severe that a young boy’s life was claimed. In addition to the boy’s mother and sister needing to be airlifted via life flight to Memorial Hermann, several other drivers and passengers in other vehicles impacted by the accident were injured and required medical attention.

While we would like to think that such reckless and needless accidents do not happen every day, the statistics prove otherwise. According to Distraction.gov, approximately 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2012 because of ‘distracted driving’, and another 3,328 died because of it.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Each state has different and evolving rules around what does and does not constitute as distracted driving, and whether or not such actions are illegal. These can include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone/smartphone while operating a vehicle
  • Watching a video
  • Reading
  • Using a GPS or navigation system
  • Eating and drinking
  • Personal grooming
  • Adjusting the radio or changing a song via MP3 player

Texting is by far the most dangerous of the distractions, given the amount of manual, visual, and cognitive attention it demands from a driver.

Research has shown that 5 seconds is the average amount of time one spends with their eyes off the road and on their cell phone when texting. In those short few seconds, when traveling at an average speed of 55 MPH, a driver can easily cover the length of a football field – only most of us would not be driving across a football field. We would be driving on highways where we could hit other vehicles or veer off course. We would be cruising along city streets where there are a large number of pedestrians, cyclists, and parked cars in and around the road.

Those 5 seconds can easily lead to a serious and even life-threatening injury which can leave several lives forever changed.

Why Texas is at a Greater Risk for Distracted Driving

Unlike many other states which have banned any cell phone use including texting while driving, currently Texas has only banned the use of cell phones for bus drivers, novice drivers, and in school zones. This can potentially raise not only the risk of personal injury for drivers and their passengers, but for bystanders and pedestrians as well.

As vigilant as you may be to avoid distractions when driving, an unfortunate number of those around us do not take this as seriously as they should. If you or a loved one has been injured in any way because of a distracted driver in the Houston area, it is imperative that you have an experienced personal injury attorney like Charles J. Argento by your side. We invite you to contact our law firm today online or by phone at (713) 225-5050 for a free legal consultation.

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