Distracted Driving Accidents

distracted driving accident

With the advancement and prevalence of cell phones today, distracted driving is a problem that affects everyone. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association, 3522 people lost their lives due to distracted driving in the United States that year.  Additionally, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 403 deaths from distracted driving accidents on Texas roadways in 2023.  From cell phones to simply not paying attention, it only takes a split second of being distracted for a car accident to occur. If you have been the injured victim of a distracted driving accident, call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. for a free consultation with a Houston distracted driving attorney. The consultation is free and we charge no attorney fees or attorney expenses to you unless we make a recovery for you that covers those costs.  Call 800-298-0111 today.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving occurs anytime you allow your attention to be diverted from keeping a constant proper lookout on the roadway to something else that requires your mental faculties. This includes performing any task unrelated to driving while operating a vehicle such as:

  • Sending, receiving, or reading texts or emails on a cell phone or other mobile device.
  • Watching videos on a mobile electronic device.
  • engaging with social media platforms while driving such as Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok.
  • Changing the radio station.
  • Adjusting the seat, steering controls, mirrors, or air conditioning while the vehicle is moving.
  • Putting on make-up.
  • Taking selfies or videotaping.
  • Staring at a prior wreck as you pass instead of paying attention to the traffic flow.
  • Shaving.
  • Eating and drinking.
  • Reading a book or physical map.
  • Combing your hair.
  • Tending to children in the back seat.
  • Talking to passengers.
  • Losing focus due to daydreaming, fatigue, or other mental distractions.
  • Singing or dancing to music.
  • Reaching for an object within the vehicle.
  • Tending to a loose pet in the vehicle.
  • Trying to kill or deal with a spider, bee, or other insect in the vehicle.
  • Sightseeing while driving.
  • Any other activity that takes your eyes off the road.

Distracted driving is attributed to three types of distractions; visual, when your eyes are off the road, and manual, when your hands are off the wheel. A cognitive distraction, however, means that a driver was distracted because their mind was taken off driving. Cognitive distractions can include stress, fatigue, and road rage. The distracted driving accident lawyers at Simmons & Fletcher, P.C. are experienced in all types of distracted driving cases. For a free case review and answers to your personal injury questions, contact our law firm to talk with a Houston distracted driving accident lawyer.

The Teen Driver Distraction Issue

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. As it turns out, distracted driving is a major factor in teen driver accidents. A study by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety (AAA-FTS) studied the in-vehicle event recorders in 1,691 moderate-to-severe vehicle accidents between August of 2007 and July of 2013 involving drivers ages 16-19. The study found that in 58% of accidents, teenage drivers were involved in “some form of non-driving-related behavior” in the 6 seconds leading up to the accident.

Distractions affecting teenage drivers noted in the study include:

  • 15% – interacting with one or more passengers
  • 12% – using a cell phone
  • 10% – looking at something else in the car
  • 9% – looking at something outside the car
  • 8%- singing or dancing to music
  • 6% – personal grooming
  • 6% – reaching for an object

The report concluded that when it came to engaging in distracted driving there was no difference between male and female teen drivers. However, female drivers were more likely to participate in a distraction such as grooming or singing while driving. If you are in an accident caused by a teenage driver and suspect they were not paying attention to the road, our Houston distracted driving accident attorneys are standing by to investigate the accident and pursue your legal rights. Distracted driving is negligence.

Texas Cell Phone Laws

Under Texas law, it is a crime to use any portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. There is an exception if the driver reasonably believes he/she is responding to or addressing an emergency.

Additionally, if a negligent driver causes an accident while texting and driving, they can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor if they cause serious injury. The punishment for this charge can land the person in jail for up to a year and result in a $4,000.00 fine. If the distracted driver kills someone, they can be charged with negligent homicide which is a state jail felony.

When a driver commits a crime and causes an accident, this is viewed by the law as negligence per se or negligence as a matter of law.

What Damages Can I Pursue After a  Distracted Driving Accident?

When someone else injures you in a distracted driving accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for all of the damages that you suffer. This includes compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills caused by the injuries you suffered in the collision.
  • Scarring or disfigurement you suffered in the wreck.
  • Lost wages that are a result of your inability to work due to your injuries.
  • Pain, suffering, and mental anguish that you suffered and may continue to suffer following an accident.
  • Property damage or loss sustained in the wreck.

You may also have the right to pursue a claim for punitive damages under circumstances where the distracted driver’s conduct was a violation of state or federal law or their conduct was reckless or willful.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?

The statute of limitations on car accidents involving distracted driving in Texas is typically two years for adults in Texas. However, evidence of a distracted driver can disappear very quickly. Electronic data recorders cannot be downloaded after vehicles are junked, scrapped, or sold. The sooner you contact a Houston distracted driving accident lawyer at our law office, the sooner we can pursue compensation for your accident.

Is Distracted Driving Negligence?

Yes. Distracted driving is negligence on the part of the driver. Every driver has a legal duty of care to maintain a proper lookout while driving. Failure to maintain a proper lookout is negligence.

If you have been the victim or injured party of a distracted driving car accident in Houston, TX, don’t become just another statistic. For help and support with your car accident, a Houston distracted driving accident attorney can walk you through the details of your case and potential lawsuit. Talk to our distracted driving accident attorneys today: (713) 547-4716.

What to Do If You Have Been Hit by a Distracted Driver

If you have been in a car accident caused by distracted driving, it is normal to be in shock. That being said, there are certain steps you can take in the immediate aftermath of an accident to help build your future case.

Ensure Your Safety

The first priority is getting out of harm’s way. If you have injuries, seek medical assistance immediately.

Call the Police

Contact the authorities to document the accident and any eyewitness accounts that may help your case. Especially in a hit and run accident, police can investigate and try to find the at-fault driver.

Contact Your Insurance Company

File insurance claims as soon as possible. You may be asked what caused the accident and any injuries you experienced. We understand that dealing with insurance companies can be stressful, which is why a Houston personal injury attorney can help you navigate that process.

Find a Reputable Houston Distracting Driving Accident Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer can give you answers to any frequently asked questions, as well as provide quality legal advice before helping you to file a claim. Hire a distracted driving accident attorney today to be informed of your rights after a motor vehicle accident in the Houston area.

How to Spot a Distracted Driver

Swerving in and out of Lanes

The number one sign that a driver is distracted is when they start swerving in and out of their lane. A vigilant and attentive driver will stay within their lane, but a motorist whose attention is elsewhere is likely to veer into other lanes from time to time.

Swerving between lanes is extremely dangerous. Other vehicles can strike the distracted driver when they suddenly veer into their lane, or the distracted party may hit another car when they switch between lanes. If you notice someone displaying this type of distracted driving behavior, it is best to either stay behind them or attempt to get far enough ahead of them to avoid them.

Inconsistent Speeds and Breaking

Studies show that a distracted driver is likely to reduce their speed by up to 33% when using a hands-free cell phone device. When the driver is distracted by something that is hands-on, it becomes even more likely that they will start to display erratic speeding behaviors.

Another common sign that a driver is distracted is when they start breaking inconsistently. For instance, if they break suddenly without reason or fail to break until the last second, there is a good chance that they are not paying consistent attention to the road.

Their Eyes Are Not on the Road

If you ever happen to glance over at another driver to see why they are driving erratically and you notice they are not even looking at the road, then you know for a fact that they are driving distracted. Most often, these drivers are looking at cellphones, eating food, talking to passengers, or looking in their mirrors.

Traffic Law Violations

Another very common sign that a driver is distracted is when you witness them violate one or more traffic laws. For instance, if you see a driver blow through a stop sign or totally ignore a red light, they might not be paying attention to the road.

Violating traffic laws can quickly lead to a car accident because drivers rely on each other to obey the rules of the road. When a driver fails to obey traffic laws, they put everyone around them at risk.

The Driver is Lagging

Finally, a driver who seems like they are lagging or responding slowly is very likely distracted by something. Studies show that getting distracted while driving can reduce brain activity associated with driving by about 37%. Slow reaction times can be a sign that the driver’s attention is split between the road and something else.

A Houston Distracted Driving Attorney at Your Service ⎯ How Can We Help?

Experiencing a car accident is difficult to say the least. Let our legal team of personal injury lawyers take it from here. If we pursue your case after your free consultation, each of our attorneys will work diligently to hold the distracted driver accountable to the law, and you will not pay a dime unless we win your case. Contact a Houston Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer at Simmons & Fletcher today: (713) 932-0777

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