Although car crashes and collisions can happen to even the safest of drivers, there are certain behaviors that increase your risk. Distracted driving in Texas continues to be a problem, and it is cited as a major contributing factor in an increasing number of car accidents and injuries that occur each year. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and although engaging in any type of activity that diverts your attention behind the wheel is dangerous, the use of cellphones and texting is of particular concern. Despite the efforts of law enforcement and increased public awareness, the truth is that texting and driving continues to occur, and for young people in particular, the results can be devastating and tragic.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
In honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is continuing its “TALK. TEXT. CRASH.” campaign, raising awareness of the dangers posed by distracted driving and encouraging drivers to not use cellphones behind the wheel. According to TxDOT, more than 100,000 car accidents occur each year due to distracted driving, resulting in serious and potentially life-threatening injuries for thousands of drivers and their passengers. TxDOT states that distracted driving in Texas includes the following:
- Eating and drinking behind the wheel
- Changing radio stations or GPS settings
- Putting on makeup or other personal grooming
- Surfing the internet or posting to social media
While simply engaging in conversation with other passengers could divert your attention long enough to cause an accident, the number of people texting and driving in Texas is a major concern. TxDOT estimates that close to 40 percent of drivers in the state admit to using their cellphones while driving, and one in five drivers admits to sending or reviewing text messages behind the wheel. Young people in particular are more likely to engage in texting and driving, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that drivers younger than 20 represent the highest segment of the population when it comes to fatal distracted driving accidents.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Child’s Judgment
While CDC studies show two out of every five high school students admit to texting and driving despite being aware of the potential dangers, a new study links this lack of judgment to a lack of sleep. A 2016 CDC study on sleep deprivation and high-risk behavior among teens reports that teenagers who got seven hours of sleep or less each night were more likely to engage in dangerous and potentially deadly behaviors, such as not wearing a seatbelt, riding with a driver who has been drinking, and texting and driving. What can parents do to help prevent their children from either causing a tragedy or being injured themselves? The CDC and TxDOT recommend the following actions:
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving and cellphone use.
- Make sure they get plenty of rest, and limit their driving time on weekdays and school nights.
- Use a phone app, such as the ones recommended by Consumer Reports, to disable texting while driving.
- Instruct your teen to either wait until the car is stopped to check or send a text, or to safely pull over before responding.
Let Us Assist You Today
If you or someone you care about has been injured as the result of distracted driving in Texas, contact The Bob Richardson Law Firm today. We provide aggressive legal representation to assist you in holding responsible parties accountable, so that you can pursue the compensation you deserve. We serve Austin, Waco, and the surrounding Texas areas. Call or contact us online today for a free case consultation.