A bulletin the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) released recently shows 459 people died in Texas last year in crashes caused by distracted drivers, and the total number of collisions caused by inattentive motorists increased by four percent compared to the previous year.
The Amarillo Globe News reported that a TxDOT deputy executive director John Barton said in a statement that "One in five traffic crashes in Texas is caused by a distracted driver."
"Those deaths were preventable," part of Barton's statement said. "It's simple: We want drivers to focus 100 percent on driving when they are behind the wheel- for their sake and for the sake of others."
Moreover, "drivers who use a cell phone when driving are four times more likely to get into a crash serious enough to cause injury," the report reads. "While distractions affect drivers of all ages, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that hand-held cell phone use is highest among 16- to 24-year-olds."
According to Amarillo Globe News, the Texas Legislature will turn its attention to texting while driving when it is back in session next year.
In the 2011 session, lawmakers passed a ban on texting-while-driving, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the ban. As per the Globe, other measures were dropped in anticipation of another Perry veto.
Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, the author of two previous bills, said before the Legislature adjourned last year, that he plans to try again in the 2015 session.
According to the recent TxDOT report, there are other types of distracted driving that are problematic in addition to texting while driving. According to the TxDOT report these include: checking emails, talking on the cellphone, eating and drinking, grooming, reading, programing a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting a radio, CD player or other audio device.
Noteworthy in this area are recent ordinances passed in Amarillo and El Paso which ban all use of hand-held cellphones while driving. Whatever measure is passed, the public is becoming more aware of the dangers of distracting driving.
If you or someone you love have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, and Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.