How Dangerous Is Texting While Driving?
Car accidents often occur because drivers are distracted and lose their focus on the road, the flow of traffic, and their surroundings. In the modern era, replete with cell phones in practically every person’s hand, one of the chief modes of distraction is texting while driving. Though the practice is seemingly common, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists texting while driving as “the most alarming” form of distracted driving.
There are numerous reasons that texting is such a dangerous way to be distracted while driving. Perhaps the ultimate point, though, is that car wrecks involving texting while driving tend to be between vehicles moving at higher speeds. The driver is distracted, so they do not reduce speed in time. Higher speeds often equate to worse injuries, sometimes with lifelong consequences. Anyone injured in a wreck in which the other driver was texting while driving should get in touch with a skilled law firm like Pintas & Mullins.
Why Texting is So Dangerous
A leading source of information on the perils of distracted driving, the organization End Distracted Driving discusses three main ways that a driver’s focus can be clouded.
- Manual Distractions: these are moments in which the driver’s hands are physically off the steering wheel or other driving implements.
- Visual Distractions: these forms of distraction are items that draw the eye away from the road.
- Cognitive Distractions: these distractions occur when the mind wanders, such as the typical “zoning out” effect that many drivers experience during long trips.
According to the organization, texting while driving is dangerous because it combines all three forms of distraction. A driver’s hands are focused on holding the phone and texting the message rather than on the wheel; their eyes are on the phone’s screen to ensure that they can read or type the correct words; their mind is on the message they want to send or the message they read. The result is that the driver’s entire person is more focused on their cellphone than on the task of driving.
Texting and Driving in Law
Like many states, Texas has become more concerned with texting while driving in recent years. Perhaps this is because 2018, the most recent year with available data released by the Texas Department of Transportation, saw nearly 400 deaths due to distracted driving across the state.
The growing concern around this dangerous form of distraction has led to the passage of House Bill 62, otherwise known as the Alex Brown Memorial Act. The bill criminalized texting while driving and made the offense a misdemeanor. Punishments for texting while driving range from a fine between $25 and $200 for the act itself, to a fine of $4,000 and up to a year of jail for injuring or killing someone in a crash that results from texting while driving.
Additional Compensation for Texting While Driving
Another quirk of the law related to texting while driving is that the event can constitute extreme negligence in the eyes of a jury. This allows the jury to award extra compensation to be paid by the offender to the injured party, known as exemplary damages. If you are ordered to pay exemplary damage, the limit of the amount you must pay is the higher of the two following amounts.
- Twice the injured party’s economic damages, plus up to $750,000 of their non-economic damages
Such steep penalties show that the state of Texas takes texting while driving seriously.
When I Am Injured in a Texting While Driving Accident
If the driver who is at-fault for your car wreck was texting while driving, you should get in touch with an experienced Texas car accident law firm as soon as possible. At Pintas & Mullins, we can help you get the compensation you need and deserve by filing your claim within the two-year statute of limitations, collecting evidence of the other driver’s fault, preserving evidence of your injuries, negotiating with the opposing attorney, and even arguing your case in court if an agreeable settlement cannot be reached.
In addition to obtaining the cell phone records of the opposing driver as evidence of their texting, our firm also may be able to find evidence through the following avenues.
- Eyewitness testimony
- Police crash reports
- Testimony from accident reconstructionists
- Photos of the accident scene
- Footage from nearby traffic or surveillance cameras
It’s FREE to Consult With an Attorney
Pintas & Mullins offers all our clients a FREE consultation to discuss how we can help your case. If you decide to work with our skilled texting while driving car crash attorneys, we work on a contingency basis. That means you don’t have to pay us unless we win you the compensation you need.
Speak to our attorneys today by calling 214-305-8277 or by filling out the easy-to-use form on our contact page.