For many drivers, driving is almost automatic. And if you’re a seasoned driver, you may not feel like the road needs your full attention.
But while it may be tempting to send a text message or glance at yourself in the mirror, distracted driving has dangerous consequences. In 2020 alone, nearly one in five crashes involved Texas drivers focusing on something other than the road. Of those crashes, 367 people lost their lives and 2,205 were seriously injured.
In this article, our Dallas car accident lawyers explain what distracted driving is, what Texas law states about texting and driving, and how you can receive compensation if you’ve been injured by a distracted driver.
What Is Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is any behavior behind the wheel that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Common distractions include:
- talking on a cell phone
- doing makeup or grooming
- sleep deprivation
- eating or drinking
- manipulating in-vehicle controls
- turning around to interact with backseat passengers
Texting and Driving is One of the Biggest Threats to Drivers
While there are many reasons negligent drivers choose to take their focus off the road, texting is the most common culprit. Thanks to our cultural obsession with smartphones, about 660,000 drivers will use their cell phones while operating a vehicle at any given moment.
And the consequences of texting while driving can often be more severe than other distracted driving behaviors. Texting and driving can distract you long enough to travel the entire length of a football field. In fact, you are 20 times more likely to crash while texting and driving than you are when not using a cell phone. Often, this means that innocent third parties are seriously injured—or killed—because of a negligent driver’s decision to text and drive.
If you or a loved one was hurt by a distracted or careless driver, you have the right to pursue justice under Texas Law. A team of Dallas car accident lawyers can help you to enforce those rights and to recover fair compensation from the person who caused your accident (more on that in the sections below).
What Texas Law Says About Texting and Driving
Texas state law already dictates what motorists are allowed to do in terms of texting while driving: Nothing. It’s illegal and has been since a 2017 law was put into place to address this growing addiction to digital devices.
But to be more specific, Texas law states:
- A driver commits an offense if they use a cell phone to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.
There are few circumstances in which Texas law allows a driver to text and drive, including:
- Reporting illegal activity, summoning emergency help, or entering information into an application that provides information relating to traffic and road conditions to users of that application.
- Reading an electronic message that the person reasonably believed concerned an emergency.
While the law plainly states it’s illegal to text and drive, the hard part is actually proving that the other driver was negligently using his cell phone at the time of the collision. The at-fault driver will most likely deny that their texting habit caused the collision or they might try to use one of the exceptions in the law to escape liability. If you plan on filing a claim or a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you should consult with a team of Dallas Car accident lawyers to help you gather evidence—especially if your injuries are severe.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Receive Compensation After a Distracted Driving Accident
To obtain compensation for damages, your claim must prove that your injuries were the direct result of the other driver’s negligent behavior, such as texting while driving. The easiest way to prove someone was distracted behind the wheel is to have them admit it. However, it’s highly unlikely they would fess up to that sort of negligent behavior.
Luckily, there are several types of evidence a team of Dallas car accident lawyers can obtain that may help prove the at-fault driver was distracted, including:
- Camera footage: Your lawyer can determine if there were cameras in the area at the time of the accident and if they captured the moment the driver was distracted.
- Cell phone records: An attorney may subpoena the wireless phone provider to assess when text messages were read and sent, the content of those messages, and to see if there is an overlap with the time of the accident.
- Police reports: If an officer witnessed the at-fault driver texting (or observed any other reckless behavior) before the collision, a lawyer will use the police report to bolster your claim.
- Eyewitness statements: If witnesses saw the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident, your attorney will use those statements as part of your case.
As you can see, there are a number of tools out there to prove the other driver was distracted. However, it usually requires the help of a Dallas car accident lawyer to obtain them.
Not surprisingly, most drivers won’t easily hand over their cell phones during an investigation. And cell phone providers generally refuse to release these records without a subpoena prepared by your attorney. In addition to obtaining cell phone records, an experienced team of lawyers can gather camera footage, eyewitness statements, and conduct a thorough investigation, so you have the best chance possible of receiving the money you are due for your injuries.
Hit By a Distracted Driver? You Can Rely On Our Dallas Car Accident Lawyers To Help
If you were hit due to the negligent actions of a driver who chose to text and drive or decided to take their focus off the road to do something else, our Dallas car accident lawyers are here to fight for your rights. We’ll gather the evidence you need to prove fault, negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and help you secure the compensation you deserve so that you can get back on the road to recovery. Contact us today for a free, confidential case evaluation.