Have you ever watched a vehicle drive past you while the driver was looking down at a cell phone? It can be a terrifying moment, especially if the vehicle begins to veer in your direction. Unfortunately, these are not rare events in Texas, and the crash statistics can prove it. Despite legislation, cell phone locking technology and numerous campaigns from safety agencies, drivers continue to use their cell phones behind the wheel.
However, cell phone use is only one type of distraction that can result in a driver losing control of a vehicle. Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes, hands or mind from the task of operating a vehicle is a distraction. Each day, distracted driving results in accidents that injure more than 700 people across the country, sometimes changing their lives forever. Are you one of these victims?
Defining distracted driving
Researchers have classified distracted driving into three categories: visual, cognitive and manual. Visual distractions include those that take a driver’s eyes from the road. This can be checking one’s phone or sending a text, but it can also include grooming oneself, following a GPS device or looking at something outside the vehicle.
Manual distraction is when a driver removes his or her hands from the wheel, such as reaching for a beverage, typing a text message or changing the station on the radio. Cognitive distraction takes a driver’s attention from driving. This can include daydreaming, talking with a passenger or even having a hands-free phone conversation while driving.
You may recognize the signs of a distracted driver. Someone who is looking down instead of ahead or reaching around inside the car probably doesn’t have their focus on operating the vehicle safely. Undoubtedly, you have seen drivers who are more focused on entertaining or arguing with their passengers than they are about keeping the vehicle in its lane. Drivers with a beverage in one hand and a sandwich in the other can hardly have control over their vehicles.
Unfortunately for many, noticing these signs happens too late to avoid a collision. An accident involving a distracted driver can often result in catastrophic injuries because the other driver is not alert enough to attempt to stop or redirect the vehicle. If you are among the victims of the more than 1.6 million distracted driving accidents in the past year, you have every right to seek justice and compensation through the civil courts for your injuries and suffering.