Houston Distracted Driver Accident Lawyer
Distracted driving may not seem dangerous while you are doing it, but studies suggest it may be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. In 2011, nearly one in five crashes involving injury occurred because of distracted driving. The numbers are particularly bad in Texas. In 2013, there were a reported 94,943 crashes that involved distracted driving, 459 of which resulted in death.
Although distracted driving usually suggests texting, there are actually many other forms. The three main types of distraction are:
- Visual Distraction, or not looking at the road
- Manual Distraction, or taking your hand off the wheel
- Cognitive Distraction, or not paying attention while driving
These types of distractions can manifest in various forms. Innocent-seeming actions, like eating, using a GPS, and talking on the phone could all be considered driving distractions. Of course, some distractions are difficult to control. Same day to day events we all do when we drive could be labeled distractions, like children talking in the backseat, thinking about work instead of the road, or an accident in another lane that causes you to look away.
According to the CDC, however, texting is the most dangerous of all forms because it is a combination of all three types. On average, texting takes the driver’s eyes off the road for almost five seconds. That’s like driving through a football field with your eyes shut.
Texas resident Jennifer Zamora-Jamison understands the tragedy that distracted driving can cause. In 2007, Zamora’s husband was killed in a distracted driving accident. Driving down a California highway, he was attempting to pick up his cell phone underneath a car seat when the fatal accident occurred. Zamora’s daughter, Maxine, was in the car at the time and survived the crash.
Zamora reports that after the accident, Maxine suffered severe emotional struggles in dealing with the tragedy. Just last year, Maxine committed suicide in Fort Worth. Jennifer, heartbroken over the loss of her family, believes that distracted driving is to blame both directly and indirectly.
Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of auto injuries and fatalities, accounting for almost 30% of accidents. These numbers will continue to rise with newer technology and new drivers taking to the road every year. As these numbers rise, so do distracted driving lawsuits.
In Texas, distracted driver criminal laws are always changing. Texas is one of only seven states that has not yet imposed a ban on texting and driving, although some local ordinances have enacted bans. However, this does not mean that distracted drivers cannot be held accountable in the event of an accident. Even if a distracted driver was not technically breaking the law, he or she may still be held civilly liable in the event of an accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that Texas employers alone spend roughly $4.3 billion per year in on and off job traffic-related injuries. In 2010, a Coca Cola employee who was driving while on his cell phone hit a Texas woman in her vehicle. She was awarded more than $11.5 million for lost wages and medical expenses.
Until Texas implements a state-wide ban on distracted driving, victims of accidents will have to seek compensation by proving negligence. In the meantime, Texas residents are encouraged to participate in the Texas Department of Transportation’s Talk.Text.Crash campaign and raise awareness, especially to new drivers. Advocacy groups like Enddd.org are raising awareness nationwide and trying to get state legislation to pass distracted driving bans in the last 7 remaining states.
If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident in the Houston area, call an experienced car accident attorney. Attorneys experienced in distracted driving lawsuits know the changes that are always occurring with distracted driving laws, and can get you the maximum amount of compensation