Texting and driving has become a significant problem for drivers. There are many reasons car accidents occur due to negligence in Texas, as well as other states. Primary concerns in the recent past to watch out for on the roads have been drunk drivers, low seat belt use, speeding, fatigued drivers, and inexperienced or distracted teen drivers. It may surprise you to know that today, the distraction of cell phone use accounts for nearly 25% of all crashes (NHTSA). Drivers engaged in cell phone use, which is not limited to texting, but includes internet use, as well as use of GPS navigation systems, are four times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
What are the Laws in Texas?
Unfortunately, Texas does not ban texting while driving for all of its citizens, but these bans are in place today:
- Bans on all cell phone usage (handheld and Hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
- Bans on all cell phone usage (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
- Bans on texting for novice drivers (Primary law)
- Bans texting for bus drivers (Primary law)Bans for all citizens of Texas on hand-held phones and texting in school zones… New drivers, bus drivers, and all drivers in school zones are prohibited by law to use cell phones for any reason.
Note: In Texas bus driver laws pertain to bus drivers with passengers age 17 and under. Novice drivers are defined as all drivers at the intermediate stage, first 12 months. (Distraction.gov)
I am safe talking hands free, Right?
Wrong! Cell phones cause a visual distraction, obviously, but even more significant is the mental, or cognitive, distraction they create. Cell phones can cause distracted drivers to take their minds off of what they should be solely focused on…the primary task of driving! Drivers talking on cell phones miss half of the information in their surroundings. This could include objects, other cars, exits, and red lights. This places your life and your property in danger, should you be around a negligent driver on a cell phone.
Many lawsuits in recent years have held employers liable for employees who have crashed while using cell phones. These are only a small handful of lawsuits brought against employers from cell phone use resulting in negligent driving:
- $21.6 million- Ohio Technology Company
- $18 million- Alabama Trucking Company
- $16.1 million- Arkansas Lumber Distributor
- $5.2 million- Georgia Paper Company
- $5 million- Georgia Construction Company
Because of these events, most businesses in Texas have banned employees from using cell phones while driving altogether. The National Safety Council® recommends for businesses to record a voice mail telling callers they are driving at the moment, and that it is not safe to make or receive calls while driving.
What should I do if I’m hit by a distracted driver?
Should you be unfortunate enough to become injured in an automobile accident by distracted cell phone user, you should know your rights, and seek the advice of an attorney immediately. If you believe you have been struck by a distracted cell phone user, there are records that can prove this.
If you were a passenger who was injured riding with a distracted driver and become injured in an accident, you have rights. You did not have control over the operations of the vehicle you were in, so you are not at fault!
In Texas, you have the right to make a claim for compensation to cover your automobile damage and/or personal injury medical bills, work hours lost, and other expenses. You also have the right to make a claim against the person who was using the phone who caused the accident.
At Van Wey Law, we fight for your rights, and we fight to end distracted driving.
Here at Van Wey Law, we have teenagers, and we are all too familiar with the heavy burden of worry when your child walks out the door with keys in one hand, and cell phone in the other. We believe in fighting for your rights as the injured party. We also believe in making the world a better place by eliminating distracted driving in Texas. It is 100% preventable.
Some personal injury lawyers have earned a bad reputation by approaching people’s misfortunes with the attitude of, “your pain is my gain.” For one attorney, this isn’t the case.
Kay Van Wey has launched a public service campaign in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area to try and reduce the number of distracted driving fatalities.
I have personally witnessed so much unnecessary suffering of people who have been seriously injured or killed as When distracted driving accidents occur, they often result in serious injury or fatalities. Tragically, distracted driving accidents are 100% preventable. That is why I launched the Just Put It Down Campaign.
Kay Van Wey, Van Wey Law
Join Van Wey Law and take the pledge to “Just Put It Down”. Make a pact with your family as well. A life is not worth a phone conversation or a text. If you have been in the victim of a car accident that has been caused by a reckless driver, call Van Wey Law at 1(800) 489-5082 for a free legal consultation, and learn how you can best handle your compensation claim.