Every day drivers in Texas and all over the nation are involved in accidents resulting from distracted driving. While younger drivers are particularly at risk, people of all ages participate in the dangerous behavior, whether it involves use of a mobile device or taking your mind off the task at hand. The following information illustrates just how dangerous these behaviors can be and why it’s the responsibility of all drivers to see that they stop.
Distracted driving goes beyond just using a smartphone behind the wheel. According to EndDistractedDriving.org, there are actually three types of driving distractions motorists can fall victim to. Visual distractions entail taking your eyes off the road. Even a moment of inattention can lead to a significant accident in some cases. Cognitive distractions occur when your mind is occupied elsewhere instead of on operating the vehicle. Manual distractions are those that involve taking your hands off the wheel. If you’ve ever reached over to adjust the radio or GPS that counts as a manual distraction.
The reason why texting and driving is considered so dangerous is because it involves all three types of distractions at once. In fact, texting and driving is similar to drunk driving in terms of impairment. However, unlike drunk driving (which is universally frowned upon), many people don’t see an issue with using their mobile devices while driving.
Because the distracted driving risk is so severe, the Texas Department of Transportation has taken steps to inform residents of just how hazardous it can be. Of the 537,475 motor vehicle crashes that occurred in Texas in 2017, 19 percent were linked to distracted driving behaviors. Out of this 19 percent, there were 2,889 severe injuries and 444 deaths. These statistics led to new legislation that makes it illegal to text, email, or even read messages on your phone while driving in Texas.