In Houston, on Wednesday, May 16th, a distracted driver in an SUV crossed over into oncoming traffic, striking a minivan. The crash left an 8-year-old girl in critical condition. The child was in the backseat of her mother’s minivan when the impact of the crash rocketed her forward, slamming her into the front windshield.
The young girl and both drivers were taken to the local hospitals.
The accident is still under investigation.
With nine people losing their lives and 1,000s injured every day to distracted drivers in the U.S., this behavior has become an epidemic that requires drivers to remain alert at all times. While the focus has been primarily on texting and cell phone usage while driving, there are a number of behaviors that can lead to a serious accident.
Whether driving on city streets or highways – where speed limits are much higher – distracted drivers can be a serious threat to you and your family. Your Houston attorneys at Lapeze & Johns are dedicated to providing victims of car accidents caused by distracted drivers the care and legal guidance they deserve. Trust in our experienced lawyers to get you the justice and compensation you need to get your life back on track.
Please consider the following information about distracted driving.
What Causes Distracted Driving
State and federal agencies such as TxDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have issued straightforward definitions on what qualifies as distracted driving. Essentially, any behaviors that take your attention away from driving and focus from the road ahead qualifies as such. Not only do these irresponsible behaviors put your life at risk but the lives of other drivers and families around you as well.
According to TxDOT, distracted driving can be defined as:
- Eating behind the wheel
- Using GPS
- Adjusting radio stations
- Using the Internet and posting to social media
- Talking on your cell phone
- Checking email
- Any type of grooming
- Reaching for items on the floor or in the seats behind you
- Excessive focus on the other passengers in the vehicle
These actions become even more hazardous at high speeds and in bad weather. In order to stay safe on the roads, drivers should always be aware of their surroundings, paying full attention to their actions and those of the drivers around them.
Hazards Associated With Cell Phone Use
While there are a number of reasons that drivers can be distracted while driving, one of the most common – and most disastrous – causes is cell phone use. Especially texting. Whether an individual is sending a message or reading one, on average, five seconds are spent with their eyes off the road.
A few hazards associated with cell phone use while driving include:
Cognitive – Your brain can only process so much at one time, and at excessive high speeds, multitasking can quickly lead to an accident. Drivers need to be ready at all times to respond to dangers and hazards on the road, and this cannot be done with a cell phone in hand.
Vision -Reaction time is severely affected by distractions and can lead to a collision. When traveling at just 55 mph, that means a distracted driver’s eyes are off the road for the length of a football field. That’s plenty of time to cause a critical, or even fatal, accident. Research has shown that using a mobile device while driving is equivalent to drunk driving.
Manual – According to research, drivers only have about half a second to steer clear of danger. Distracted drivers taking their hands off the wheel can lose control of their vehicles in an instant or crash into another vehicle.