While everyone seems to be addicted to his or her personal cellphones, there is a time to put the obsession on hold. When motorists are behind the wheel, their cellphones should not be. This is because cellphone use while operating a vehicle is the number one distraction for driving, according to NCS.org.
In fact, approximately 66 percent of respondents in an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey admitted to talking on a cellphone while driving in the month prior to the survey. NCS.org indicates that the problem is the reason for many car accidents. In Texas, for example, cellphone use was a contributing factor in roughly 3,387 state crashes in 2010.
Some drivers believe that they can easily solve the problem with a hands-free device. However, the problem is cognitive, meaning it is not the device but the conversation, which creates the distraction.
Of course, the visual and manual distraction can also be dangerous. However, when the mind is wandering from the task of driving, it is hard to pay attention to any challenges on the road. When drivers are using mobile phones, they often exhibit a slower reaction time. Road objects, visual cues, exit ramps, traffic lights and stop signs are easily missed when a driver is distracted.
To prevent accidents, Texas law currently addresses the distracted driving problem within its own statutes. For example, there is a ban on all cellphone use for novice or inexperienced motorists. This includes young drivers that have recently been licensed. Novice drivers may not use handheld or hands-free. The same is true for bus drivers.
Novice and bus drivers may not text and drive, too. Moreover, Texas does not permit the use of handheld phones and texting in school zones for all motorists.
The laws regarding inexperienced drivers and bus operators are primary laws. This means that authorities may pull over a person for using a phone illegally while a person is driving, and no other separate traffic violation, such as speeding, is required for authorities to inquire into to a motorist’s activities.
Ultimately, Texas has a ways to go when it comes to implementing prohibitions against distracted driving. The good news is that the state has started to take action against cellphone use. Recently, many cities in the state banned texting and driving for all motorists. Some of these cities include Austin, El Paso, Galveston, San Antonio, Shoreacres and West University Place.
If you believe that you are a victim of inattentive or reckless driving, you should get in contact with a seasoned personal injury law attorney. Motorists are responsible for focusing on the road. If they do not, they could be held liable for the consequences of being reckless.