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Distracted Driving Is a Serious Problem in Texas

Since the car’s inception, auto accidents have plagued America and her citizens. There are several reasons why auto accidents occur, but many people see drunk driving as the leading cause of car crashes. However, after reading this blog post, you’ll see that distracted driving is the real epidemic that’s killing thousands of Americans every year.

Distracted Driving & Personal Beliefs

Although distracted driving is undoubtedly dangerous, many people still choose to drive while distracted. In 2012, the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported on distracted driving and discovered several noteworthy statistics. 

In this study, researches asked drivers if they felt that distracted driving (specifically, driving while using a cellphone) was dangerous. The study showed that 50% of the participants believed that talking on the phone while driving impacted their ability to drive. However, the other 50% felt that talking on the phone while driving had no impact on their ability to drive.

Unfortunately, it’s a scientific fact that talking on the phone impacts peoples’ driving capabilities, but based on this study, 50% of drivers believe they are impervious to the negative impacts of talking on the phone while driving. However, the study also revealed a disconnect between some drivers’ personal beliefs and their own actions.

The study showed that 60% of the participants admitted to answering the phone while driving. As stated earlier, 50% of the participants said that answering the phone while driving impacted their ability to drive.

Taken together, these two statistics show that at least 10% of the study’s participants admitted that talking on the phone while driving impacted their driving capabilities, but they chose to talk on the phone anyway. However, the discrepancy increases when we look at younger drivers who text.

In this same study, 20% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 said that texting while driving made no impact on their performance. However, the study also revealed that 44% of these same participants texted while driving. Therefore, there is a 24% discrepancy between teens who believe that texting while driving is dangerous, but who choose to text anyway.

Based on this study, we can determine that while some people believe that texting and talking on the phone impacts their driving capabilities, most people still choose to talk or text anyway. Therefore, there is a big discrepancy between what people think, and what people do.

The Problem at Large

The NHTSA released another study examining the effects of distracted driving in fatal accidents.

In this study, the researchers examined national statistics from 2017, and this is what they found:

  • Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were reported as distraction-affected crashes (this suggests that the actual percentage is higher than stated.)
  • 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving in 2017.
  • Drivers aged 15-19 years old had the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
  • 599 nonoccupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) were killed in distraction-affect crashes in 2017.

While the number of reported distraction-affected fatal crashes has decreased since 2015, it’s still too high, and Texas residents are paying for it.

Texas Distracted Driving Accidents in 2017

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website shows that in 2017, 3,722 people were killed in car accidents in Texas. If we apply the statistical evidence from the NHTSA study mentioned above that nine percent of all fatal accidents involve distracted driving, we can deduce that an estimated 335 Texans were killed by distracted driving in 2017.

However, as previously stated, the actual percentage of distraction-affected fatal crashes is higher than reports suggest, which means the number of Texans who were killed as a result of distracted driving is undoubtedly more than the estimate.

A study released by the NHTSA and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that 80 percent of automobile accidents involved some form of driver distraction within three seconds of the crash. If we apply this statistic to the total number of Texas car crashes in 2017 (more than 500,000 crashes), we can estimate that distracted driving was a part of 400,000 accidents in Texas in 2017.

Were You Injured in an Accident?

Distracted driving isn’t a criminal offense necessarily. However, someone’s lawful behavior may be considered negligent in a personal injury claim. For example, using a hands-free device while driving is legal, but could impact the user’s determined liability in a personal injury case. Therefore, distracted driving can significantly impact personal injury settlements!

If you or a loved one is injured in a Texas car accident, it’s essential to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can. Attorney Ruben Ortiz can look through your situation to determine if you have a legitimate case!

Call (915) 308-8850 now to reach the Law Offices of Ruben Ortiz. We offer free consultations for all personal injury claims, and our contingency fees start as low as 25%!