driver texting and people in roadway

Cell Phones, Distracted Driving and Car Accidents

Auto Accidents Caused by Cell Phone Usage

Around 4.5 billion people worldwide have cell phones, with 260 million of those people living in the United States alone.

Although cell phones introduce added ease and safety in our lives, their widespread use during transportation is causing truck and car accidents that claim thousands of lives and leave hundreds of thousands of people considering hiring an accident injury lawyer for help negotiating with adversarial insurance adjusters and confusing medical providers .

As a responsible driver, you understand that drinking alcohol in excess of the .08 BAC limit is both illegal and dangerous. However, did you know that studies have shown that talking or texting on a cell phone will driving is more likely to cause an accident than driving while intoxicated? When viewed in this context, it is no wonder that states and cities are trying to tackle this issue by adopting new laws restricting cell phone usage.

Distracted driving is defined as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” This behavior endangers the driver, passengers, and anyone nearby. Distracted driving also includes things such as eating and drinking, talking with passengers, grooming, reading (maps included), navigating, watching videos, adjusting music, adjusting car temperature.  For more information on distracted driving, read the Deadly Truth of Distracted Driving.

Distracted Driving at the National Level

On a national level, the U.S. Department of Transportation has now banned commercial truckers and bus drivers from texting while driving. Statistics had showed that a trucking accident was 23 times more likely to occur when the driver was texting. The government recognizes the dangers of distracted driving, and some suggest that a national texting ban for all motorists could be next. But for now, it is up to the state level to create laws to combat distracted driving in an attempt to reduce distracted driving accidents and fatalities.

According to a study conducted by the University of Sussex, hands-free doesn’t keep people from distracted driving. The study showed that even having conversations take concentration away from the road. The driver will visually imagine what they are talking about, thus using the part of the brain that watches the road. Some argue that there should be a ban on complete cell phone usage, because even talking on a headset could cause distraction and accident.

4 Ways Officials Are Reducing Injuries

  1. Austin Hands-Free Law
  2. A Study on Hands Free – and the real accident-causers behind the wheel
  3. “Textalyzer” – a device that checks the phone for recent activity. It is being considered in New York, and could make its way to Texas if proven an effective means of reducing distracted driving and traffic fatalities.
  4. Community Action: Prevent Crashes Before they Happen
Austin Hands-Free Law

On January 1, 2015, the Austin Hands-Free Law took effect which prohibits the use of handheld devices or devices that require physical attention while operating a vehicle. This does not only apply to cell phones, but to GPS, radio, and other devices as well.

How You Can Prevent Texting While Driving Car Accidents

  • Discuss the issue. If you know someone that frequently participates in risky behavior such as texting while driving, let them know how dangerous it is.
  • Be a good example. If people are in the car with you, ask them to text for you while you drive. Remember not to text while driving in front of younger kids.
  • Be informed and active. Set rules for yourself and your household on texting while driving. Share information about distracted driving with your children and other family members.
  • Avoid riding in the car with someone that you know who often texts-and-drives.

Despite Hands-Free, Injuries and Fatalities Still High

Although Austin Hands-Free went into effect on January 1, 2015, there were 102 traffic fatalities in Austin and included not only motor vehicle deaths, but pedestrian, cyclists, and motorcyclist fatalities. 2015 was thus considered Austin’s deadliest year, and across the U.S. traffic fatalities rose by 8%. So, what happened? Perhaps, despite the obvious dangers and potential high fines, drivers still can’t seem to let go of the technology they rely on.

Austin’s Car Accident Lawyers for Distracted Driving Crashes

At McMinn Law Firm, we realize that driver inattention or distraction due to cell phone usage is a growing problem that is both lethal and preventable.
Have you ever driven carelessly or been in an accident because of a cell phone? Have you driven with one hand on the steering wheel? Have you taken your eyes off of the road to reach for a phone or dial a number? Have you been distracted by your conversation or the conversation of one of your passengers? Have you texted while driving?

The lawyers at the McMinn Law Firm have experience with the most current laws against cell phone usage and distracted driving. If you have been in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages and/or injuries that have resulted from the driver’s negligence. Contact the McMinn Law Firm today to allow us to investigate your claim fully and fight for the compensation you deserve.