by Tim O’Hare
If you have been out driving on any Dallas freeways recently, you have likely seen the signs warning drivers about the danger of texting while driving. More than 2,000 fatalities have occurred on Texas roads so far this year. Texting while driving significantly increases your risk of being in an accident. Is that text message really worth your life?
If you text while driving, according to this study, you spend 400 percent less time looking at the road compared to drivers who do not text while driving. According to www.distraction.gov, text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Other research shows that sending or reading a single text message takes your eyes off the road an average of 4.6 seconds, long enough to drive the length of a football field blind at 55 mph.
The incidents of car accidents caused by distracted driving are on the rise nationwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the number of fatalities in accidents caused by distracted driving increased from 10 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2009. In 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. An estimated 416,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents. Texas is not exempt from this national average. TxDOT reports that 100,000 vehicles were involved in crashes caused by distracted driving in 2009. More than 400 of those were fatal.
Texas is one of only a handful of states without a statewide ban on texting. Last year, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed a law that would have made texting while driving illegal statewide, leaving the decision to individual municipalities. Arlington, Amarillo, Nacogdoches, Odessa and Canyon City are among Texas cities that have instituted citywide bans on texting while driving. Click here for more info on Texas cell phone laws and legislation.
On January 24, 21-year-old college student Chance Bothe drove his car off a bridge into a ravine in Texas just seconds after sending this text message: “I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident.” Chance is one of the lucky few who would survive such a devastating — and entirely preventable — accident.
After six months of rehab where he had to learn to walk and talk again and multiple reconstructive surgeries, Chance has this message to other drivers:
Don’t kid yourself into believing it won’t happen to you. The fact is, it could happen to you and, if you continue to text while driving, chances are, it will happen to you.
For more information about the dangers of distracted driving, read this recent article.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas personal injury attorney.
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