In 2014 — the last year for which complete accident data is available — 100,825 auto accidents in Texas involved some kind of distracted driving, whether it was cell phone use, driver inattention or in-vehicle distraction such as eating, grooming, adjusting the radio or using a navigation system.

That same year, 468 people lost their lives in distracted-driving accidents in Texas, and the Texas Department of Transportation reports that about 20 percent of wrecks in the state involve distracted drivers.

As 2015 comes to a close, drivers throughout Texas have an opportunity to make a New Year’s resolution not to drive distractedly.

The risk of injury and death associated with distracted driving is well known, yet many motorists still seem to think that serious wrecks only happen to other people. More education is needed to inform drivers about the dangers of texting while driving and other forms of driving distractedly.

As we discussed in a recent post, younger drivers may be particularly prone to distracted driving, with one study by AAA showing that distracted driving was a factor in close to 60 percent of moderate-to-severe wrecks involving teenagers.

New technologies such as smartphones can help us live efficiently and stay connected, but the convenience of these devices is never worth the devastation caused by distracted driving.

If you have been injured in a distracted-driving accident, then getting physically and mentally well should be your top priority. One of your early steps after the crash, though, should be to contact a personal injury lawyer to explain your situation. An attorney can act quickly to assess the cost of your injuries now and in the future, maximize the value of your case, and preserve evidence that will strengthen your claim.

The reality is that insurance companies actively seek to reduce or deny entirely the amount of compensation that injury victims receive, even when the crash was clearly the fault of a distracted driver. Accident victims need someone on their side to ensure that they receive the full amount of compensation they deserve.

For answers to common questions people have after distracted-driving accidents, please see The Levine Law Firm’s personal injury FAQ.