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Many drivers face electronic distractions

| Jan 26, 2018 | Distracted Driving

If you’re like many Houston drivers, hardly a day passes when you don’t encounter a wreck on the interstate. If you think that you have been seeing more than the usual number of serious collisions (or their immediate aftermaths), you may be onto something.

According to recent Consumer Reports findings, auto accident fatalities have increased. Safety industry experts hypothesize that this is due, in part, to the tendency of drivers to get distracted while interacting with their smartphones.

Worsening the problem is the proliferation of infotainment systems in newer model vehicles. These can divert drivers’ attention from the road ahead. But distractions aren’t always attributable to high-tech innovations. Something as mundane as a driver adjusting the temperature controls or switching radio stations can be enough to cause a collision.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) claims that 20 percent of auto accidents involve some type of distraction for the driver. Those who use cellphones while driving increase their risk of getting into accidents. It doesn’t matter whether the device is handheld or hands-free.

Just last year, the governor signed a law prohibiting the use of “wireless communications device[s] for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle.” Sending and receiving email is also prohibited under the texting ban.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if drivers are watching YouTube videos or texting, they can’t give 100 percent of their attention to driving. Yet, a Consumer Reports survey revealed that more than half of the licensed drivers who responded admitted to the following risky behaviors behind the wheel:

  • Sending email
  • Surfing the web
  • Watching videos
  • Playing music

It’s scary to contemplate the number of dangerously distracted drivers there are jockeying for position in Houston traffic. When their negligence causes accidents, the injured victims have the right to pursue all available avenues of compensation from the liable parties and their auto insurance companies.

Source: Consumer Reports, “Consumer Reports: Remedies for distracted driving,” Jan. 25, 2018

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