By now, many Texas residents are aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Most people assume that distracted driving always involves cell phone use, but the reality is that there are various types of activities that are considered distractions when driving, all of which greatly increase the chance of a serious accident.
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving. As in many states, distracted driving continues to be a major issue in Texas. Each year, Texas sees more than half a million car accidents, with almost 1 in 5 involving distracted driving.
Some alarming statistics
In 2018 alone, distracted driving was responsible for thousands of serious injuries and hundreds of deaths. Of all the distracted driving accidents that year, the highest number involved drivers simply not paying attention to the road, while smaller numbers of accidents were caused by cell phones, children or pets.
In addition to cell phone use, whether talking on the phone or texting, activities that constitute distracted driving can include eating, drinking, watching a video, or even something as simple as switching a radio station or using a GPS. While some of these activities are legal, drivers should still try to engage in them as little as possible while on the road.
Some activities are strictly prohibited under Texas law, such as texting while driving. It is also illegal for drivers under 18 to use any wireless communication device, or drivers over 18 with learner’s permits to use a handheld phone for their first 6 months of driving. No handheld devices may be used in any school crossing zones, and all school bus drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone around children.
It is important to learn about all types of distracted driving, and the circumstances in which they may come into play. A serious injury due to distracted driving can wreak havoc on many areas of a person’s life. If this occurs, it is helpful to understand the law and know your options.