Cell phones and other distractions for drivers

The state of Texas does not have a consistent approach to distracted driving but many cities have their own laws and bans in place.

Over the past several decades, people in Texas have heard much about the dangers of drinking and driving. Public awareness and education campaigns along with strong laws and penalties for drunk drivers have contributed to this. The goal of these efforts of course is to help keep innocent people safe.

In more recent years, another danger has emerged and actually grown and that is distracted driving. Certainly anything that takes a person's attention away from driving can be a distraction but the use of mobile phones or other electronic devices may be among the most dangerous. Understanding this risk is important for all Texans.

What makes phone use particularly dangerous while driving?

As explained by EndDistractedDriving.org, driving distractions can be classified into three categories. One involves anything that takes a driver's eyes off of the road. Another takes a driver's hands off the steering wheel. The third takes a driver's concentration away from the road and the vehicle.

Texting, emailing, using social media or adjusting navigation systems involves all three types of distraction making these things far more dangerous than distractions that involve only one form.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate it takes an average of five seconds for a person to complete the reading or sending of a single text message. In that time, a vehicle could travel 100 yards at 55 miles per hour. A lot of damage can happen in that span of time and distance.

How big of a problem is distracted driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distraction is responsible for one out of every 10 fatal car crashes in America. The use of cell phones while driving is responsible for 17 percent of all accidents.

The National Safety Council records show that the use of phones for calls or texts is associated with 28 percent of wrecks nationally.

In Texas, the Department of Transportation links distracted driving with 20 percent of crashes.

The statistics on the scope of the problem vary but all point to the same conclusion-that distracted driving is dangerous and causes injuries, fatalities and property damage.

What are the laws on distracted driving in Texas?

While many states have laws banning some use of phones while driving, Texas has none. However, many municipalities including Bellaire have enacted their own laws on the matter.

Whether or not a particular city has a distracted driving law in place, people involved in accidents caused by distracted drivers should always contact an attorney for help. This will give them the right access to resources and information when seeking compensation.