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Monday, September 26, 2016

Distracted Driving a Threat to Texans

What is being done to prevent distracted driving accidents?

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Texas. According to the AAA , distracted drivers killed or injured nearly 3,0000 people last year. The use of cell phones, especially texting, is frequently cited as the reason. Drivers can also be distracted by other passengers, tuning the radio, checking GPS devices and other technological devices, eating or drinking beverages. Some drivers are also known to apply makeup when driving or even read the newspaper.

"Texting while driving....takes eyes off the roads, your hands off the steering wheels. And your mind off what should be the most important task at hand, which is driving safely on the road,” said AAA Texas Spokesman Doug Shupe.

One would think that there would be laws prohibiting the use of cell phones or texting while driving, but this is not the case in Texas. While state lawmakers have considered legislation aimed at banning the use of these devices, there has been pushback by opponents who fear governmental intrusion or question how the law would be enforced.  A statewide distracted driving bill has failed at least four times. Now, the AAA in conjunction with other safety groups are urging lawmakers to reconsider the issue, citing the 100,000 distracted driving accidents in 2015, over 2,500 deaths and 422 fatalities.

Although there is not statewide distracted driving law, at least 60 municipalities, including Austin and several nearby cities, have put prohibitions in place. That's the good news. The bad news is that these laws are conflicting and can potentially confuse drivers. For this reason, safety advocates are pushing for a statewide, uniform ban that is readily understandable. In addition to Texas, Missouri, Montana, and Arizona do not ban texting while driving.

“Texas is a big state. We have a lot of cities,” Shupe said.  “A uniform, statewide ban, something that everyone would understand, is the best way to go.”

While it remains to be seen whether or not lawmakers will take action to pass a distracted driving law, those who have been injured or lost a loved one because of a distracted drive have powerful legal recourse: a personal injury lawsuit. By engaging the services of an experienced attorney, you can obtain significant compensation for your injuries or loss.

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