Driver distraction is a serious issue on our roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that driver distraction resulted in 3,450 auto accident fatalities in 2016 alone. An estimated 391,000 injuries in 2016 can also be attributed to distracted drivers. That’s why our Longview, TX attorneys take distracted driver car accidents seriously.
G.R. (Randy) Akin and his legal team would like to consider some common types of driver distraction. This will help you understand the hazards on the road and what to avoid.
Texting While Driving
Texting while driving takes your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for seconds at a time. For perspective, a vehicle traveling at highway speeds can cover the length of a football field in just 5 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2015, 42 percent of high school students admitted to texting or emailing while they were behind the wheel.
Cellphone Use While Driving
Cellphone use while driving can also be a major danger. Even if you are not texting, talking on your phone without a hands-free set can leave one hand off the wheel and cause you to divide your attention between the road and your conversation.
This is why the state of Texas has the following laws regarding cellphone use behind the wheel:
- Texting, emailing, and reading messages behind the wheel is illegal
- Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a cellphone while driving
- All drivers regardless of age cannot use their cellphone while in a school zone
Use of Other Handheld Electronic Devices
Tablets, portable gaming devices, and other handheld electronics are a common part of daily life. While they are ubiquitous, that is no excuse for them to be used while you are driving. Put these sources of distraction away while you are driving and concentrate on the road.
Eating While Driving
Many people eat while they are commuting given their busy schedules. While having some food or a beverage while driving may seem harmless, it can be a source of danger. Foods that are challenging to eat or that require both hands can result in distraction and a number of hazards. If you must eat or drink behind the wheel, have simple, convent snack foods within easy reach.
Makeup and Grooming Behind the Wheel
In addition to eating, many people do their hair or put on makeup during their commute. While multitasking can save time, it also puts you in danger. Rather than paying attention to your hair and mascara, keep all grooming activities out of the car, or do so only when the vehicle is parked and not in motion.
Reaching for Objects in the Car
Sometimes something you need at the moment is in an inconvenient spot in the vehicle. Reaching for this object can take your eyes off the road and leave a hand off the wheel at a crucial moment. If you need to get an object that is not within reach, always find a safe place to turn into, park, and retrieve the item when the vehicle is not in motion.
It’s human nature to look at an accident or something curious at the side of the road. This behavior can be a source of inattention, however. Multiple rubberneckers in one place make the road even more dangers. What’s worse, people may take out their cellphones to take photos or video of an incident while driving. Try to avoid rubbernecking whenever possible, and keep your phone out of your hands unless you are making a 911 call.
Contact Our Law Firm
For more information about your legal rights following an auto accident, be sure to contact an experienced injury accident lawyer. Our law firm can also be reached by phone at (903) 297-8929. We will be here to help you in your time of legal need.