The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently participating in National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. During the entire month of April, they will be publicizing the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” safety campaign that raises awareness about the dangers and costs associated with texing while driving. Public service announcements in English and Spanish will on television, radio and web platforms.
Distracted Driving by The Numbers
- In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.
- An estimated 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2013.
- At any given daylight moment in 2012, an estimated 660,000 drivers were manipulating cell phones behind the wheel.
- Drivers in their 20’s make up nearly a third of all distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
- 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit having had extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.
If You’re Texting, You’re Not Driving
Texting and driving don’t mix. You’re either doing one or the other, and if you’re texting, you’re definitely not driving. Texting is a visual, manual and cognitive distraction behind the wheel. The NHTSA reports that engaging in visual-manual subtasks behind the wheel (like texting or using a cell phone) increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times. Drivers take their eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds while texting. If you’re going 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field completely blindfolded.
Distracted Driving Ban in Texas
At the end of March, the Texas House tentatively approved a statewide Texting While Driving Ban. House Bill 80 (HB 80) would make texting behind the wheel a misdemeanor, punishable with a $99 fine for the first offense and a $200 fine for subsequent offenses. Pending a final approval from the House, the bill will go to the Senate. Texas may become the 45th State to enact a statewide ban on texting while driving.
After a Distracted Driving Accident
Texting or engaging in other distracted behaviors behind the wheel puts everybody on Texas roadways at great risk. Although there isn’t a statewide texting ban yet, distracted drivers can still be held accountable for crashes they cause.
If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact the skilled team at the Altman Legal Group at 940-761-4000 for a free case consultation today.