Distracted Driving Accidents in McAllen, TX
Injured by a distracted driver? Call an attorney at our firm.
Have you been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver? A McAllen car accident attorney at Stern Law Group may be able to help. We represent victims of auto accidents in the McAllen area and can help you take action to hold the driver accountable.
As of January 2014, there is no statewide ban of texting or cell phone use in Texas. There are some restrictions that apply to specific drivers and in school zones, but texting while driving is not a primary offense for which a driver can be pulled over. According to Texas legislation, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving. Drivers with learners permits are also restricted from handheld cell phone use during their first six months of driving. School bus operators and those driving in school crossing zones are prohibited from using handheld cell phones.
Some cities have implemented their own rules to combat distracted driving. In McAllen, text messaging and related internet activity while driving are banned. Violations of this ordinance may result in fines of up to $200. After implementing a similar ordinance, police in another Texas city issued 161 tickets in its first month of enforcement. Measures such as this are a start in stopping this dangerous practice, as is educating the public about the serious risks associated with distracted driving.
Understanding the Hazards of Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a federal agency operating under the Department of Transportation (DOT), is spearheading the fight against distracted driving in the U.S. According to the NHTSA website www.distraction.gov:
- About 3,300 people are killed in distracted-related accidents each year. 3,328 people lost their lives and 421,000 people were injured in these accidents in 2012 alone.
- As of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the U.S. every month.
- About 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices at any given daylight moment in the U.S.
Texting is the most dangerous type of distracted driving. According to one study, sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. This may not seem like a very long time, but it is plenty of time to cause a collision. If a driver is traveling 55 miles per hour, the vehicle would travel the length of an entire football field in the amount of time that it takes for a driver to check his or her phone and read or respond to a text message.
Even taking one's eyes off the road, hands from the wheel or attention from driving for a split second can increase the chances of a car accident. Anything that affects a driver's visual, cognitive and/or manual attention may be considered a distraction, such as: texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, manipulating an in-vehicle navigation system, talking to a passenger, looking at a map or GPS device, eating, drinking, smoking, applying make-up or shaving.
In the amount of time it takes for a driver to do any of these things, he or she may miss an obstacle in the road, a traffic signal or a change in traffic. A distracted driver may unintentionally swerve from his or her lane or may not see a pedestrian, motorcyclist or bicycle rider until it is too late. The consequences of distracted driving are so great, it is far better to wait and handle texts or other things when you are not driving.
Find out more about distracted driving and your rights by contacting a McAllen car accident lawyer at our firm. We look forward to answering your questions and addressing your concerns. Contact us today!