Texas drivers now have more distractions than ever in their vehicles. In addition to smartphones and GPS units, many new vehicles come installed with information and entertainment systems. These “infotainment” systems give drivers even more temptation to take their eyes off the road.
Drivers have a responsibility to maintain their focus behind the wheel. Failure to do so is negligence, which is a breach of the duty of care expected of all motorists. When it results in personal injuries, the at-fault driver can be held legally responsible for damages to those affected.
The Statistics on Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has been the subject of much research in recent years. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently released the results on a study of distracted driving. Previous research had demonstrated that a driver who looks away from the road for just two seconds is twice as likely to cause an accident. Now, the AAA research found that drivers who use in-vehicle infotainment technologies (such as voice control and touch screen features) are visually and mentally distracted for more than forty seconds. Programming navigation was found to be the most distracting task for drivers with in-vehicle “infotainment” systems.
These risks are not limited to just a few distracted drivers: AAA reports that nearly one third of adult drivers use infotainment systems while driving. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving is responsible for killing nine people every day on the roads of the United States. Another one thousand victims are injured by distracted driving daily. The evidence is clear: distracted driving kills. In spite of this, thousands of drivers still fail to realize their legal duty to prevent distraction.
How Texas Drivers Can Avoid Distracted Driving
Now, more than ever, mobile phone manufacturers are addressing the problem of distracted driving. Apple recently released its latest operating system (the iOS 11) with a comprehensive “do not disturb while driving” feature. The New York Times reports that the move by Apple comes after a series of lawsuits against it based upon distracted drivers. One such tragic case killed a driver and passenger, and left a child paralyzed. The driver of a Dodge Ram, checking her iPhone for messages while speeding on a highway here in Texas, crashed into the sport utility vehicle carrying the victims. The Ram driver was convicted of negligent homicide, but the victims’ families sued Apple. While this lawsuit is not expected to succeed, it does raise a larger issue for drivers across the world. Who is responsible for preventing distracted driving?
Ultimately, the problem of distracted driving will not be addressed unless drivers accept personal responsibility for implementing safe driving habits. This is not only a moral obligation or wise safety precaution - it is also a requirement of Texas law. As of September 1, 2017, House Bill 62 has prohibited texting while driving within the State of Texas. If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of auto accident, be sure to contact an experienced Fort Worth auto accident attorney as soon as possible. You have legal rights which must be protected.