You see it all the time-people driving around Travis County with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on their cell phone, sending messages to friends and family. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration texting is the most dangerous distraction that faces drivers today and people who text and drive are three times more likely to get into a car accident.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation in 2011, over 3,000 people died in car accidents and over 80,000 people were seriously injured in Texas alone. It is unknown how many of those crashes involved a texting driver.
Proposed texting ban
This year, Texas lawmakers are being asked to consider passing a bill that would ban all drivers in the state from texting while driving, according to Dallas South News. This is not the first time that such a law has been presented and passed by the state legislature.
Even if the legislature passes the current bill, there is no guarantee that it will become law. Governor Rick Perry vetoed a similar bill in 2011, citing that it would be government interference to enact such a measure. It is unknown whether he is willing to sign a ban on texting this year if it is approved by the state Senate; the House of Representatives has already passed it. Teenage drivers are currently banned from texting while driving.
The dangers of texting
Texting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, encourages a driver to take their minds and eyes off the road and to take their hands off the wheel. Thus texting combines all three types ofdistracted driving: cognitive, visual and manual. Here are just some of the facts about the dangers of texting:
- In June of 2011 over 196 billion texts were sent and received in the U.S.
- One study shows that at any time, 660,000 American drivers are using a cell phone while driving.
- If a driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour and looks down at a text on their phone, it takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds on average. During that time, the car travels the length of a football field blindly, increasing the risk of being in an accident.
- Using a hands-free device does not lower the risk associated with using a hand-held cell phone.
- Nationwide, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents, including texting, and 387,000 people were injured in 2011.
In a study conducted by the CDC it was discovered that the use of cell phones and texting while driving was much higher in the U.S. than in most European countries, with the exception of Portugal. When people choose to text and drive at the same time, they are putting others’ lives at risk. If you have been injured in a car accident you should meet with an attorney to discuss how you can pursue that driver for compensation.