Distracted driving is causing thousands of fatal car accidents across the U.S., and in places like Texas, the situation is particularly alarming. A new study says that Texas has some of the most distracted drivers in the country.
There were nearly 100,000 distracted driving crashes in Texas last year
In 2022, nearly one in six crashes on Texas roads were caused by a distracted driver. Overall, there were 95,777 distracted driving accidents in the state - 487 people died, and 2,824 were seriously injured.
Driver inattention is a major crash factor in Texas
USAA ranked Texas among the top 10 worst states for distracted driving. The Lone Star State was ranked 9th worst. Nearly 14 percent of drivers in Texas are not paying attention behind the wheel, USAA estimated.
For the study, the insurance group considered factors such as the number of distracted driving accidents reported per year and smartphone distraction rates, among other things. The state with the most distraction-related accidents is Mississippi.
In Texas, distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes a driver's attention away from operating their vehicle. Distractions can include anything from texting and talking on a smartphone to eating and drinking, putting on makeup, shaving, reading, programming a navigation system, watching a video, or adjusting the vehicle's climate control.
Texas law and distracted driving
Distracted driving accidents are especially common in large Texas cities, where about 63 percent of the state's distracted driving crashes occur. Like many cities in Texas and across the U.S., Fort Worth struggles to combat distracted driving. Over the last five years, the city has experienced over 25 fatal distracted driver accidents. In Fort Worth, I-35 is a hotspot for this type of crash.
Here are some more facts about Texas distracted driving accidents:
- About 68 percent of distracted driving accidents happen on sections of straight roadway
- Almost 25 percent happen at intersections
- Speed is a factor in 38 percent of distracted driving accidents
- Over 10 percent of distracted driving accidents involve alcohol
How to avoid distracted driving
Texas has a campaign to promote distracted driving awareness called Talk. Text. Crash. The state and USAA are offering tips to help reduce distracted driving and the resulting accidents. Here are a few things they want drivers to know to stay focused on the road:
- Hands-free technology is not distraction-free technology. Research shows that regardless of whether a driver uses a voice-to-text program, a hands-free device, or a handheld device, the distraction will affect their driving.
- Put the phone away. Phones are among the biggest distractions to drivers. Before driving, drivers should silence their devices, switch their phones to "Do Not Disturb" mode, turn them off, and store them out of reach, such as in the glove compartment or the back seat.
- Pull over if necessary. If a driver needs to use their phone, they should pull off the road entirely and come to a complete stop before talking or texting.
- Try an app. The Texas Department of Transportation recommends several smartphone apps to help reduce distracted driving, including LifeSaver, an app that blocks a driver's phone activity when they are operating a vehicle; You in the Driver Seat, which rewards drivers ages 16-25 for every accident-free trip; and Safe 2 Save, for every minute a driver doesn't touch their phone behind the wheel, they are rewarded with points that can be redeemed at local businesses.
- Inform work, friends, and family. Drivers should inform their employers and loved ones that they do not respond to calls or texts while driving. This may reduce anxiety about missed calls and messages.
If you were hit by a distracted driver, our law firm can help
Sometimes, crash victims are confident they have an "easy" claim because the other driver was at fault. However, proving a driver was texting or otherwise distracted can be difficult - especially if they deny fault.
At Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C. in Fort Worth, we take an aggressive approach to crashes involving reckless and negligent drivers. With years of experience handling cases involving car accidents, our firm can guide you through the legal process, build a strong case on your behalf, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
If you were injured or a loved one died in a Fort Worth car accident, schedule a free case evaluation with our law firm. We represent accident victims on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront or out-of-pocket expenses for our services, and you pay no fees unless we win your case. To learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today.