Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, more drivers have returned to the road. As a result, we're seeing a higher rate of distracted driving. Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of car accidents and deaths in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused 3,522 fatalities in 2021. This marks a 13% increase over figures from 2019.
Understanding the dangers of distracted driving
Many of the leading causes of distracted driving accidents include:
- Visual distractions: Visual distractions occur when a driver takes their eyes off the road. This can be particularly dangerous as it impairs the driver's ability to see and react to potential hazards. Examples include looking at a cell phone, adjusting a GPS, or gazing away from the road.
- Manual distractions: This involves taking one or both hands off the steering wheel to engage in an activity unrelated to driving. Common examples of manual distractions include eating and drinking, adjusting radio controls, and typing on a cell phone.
- Cognitive distractions: This occurs when a driver's mind is not fully focused on driving, even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. Common examples include daydreaming, conversations with passengers, and emotional distractions.
Where does Texas rank for distracted driving?
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) has recently released data outlining distracted driving trends in the United States for the first half of 2023. This report identifies the states where drivers exhibit higher or lower distracted driving behaviors.
The statistics revealed an 18% surge in miles driven during the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Alarmingly, there was a 10% increase in distracted behaviors during this timeframe. These figures underscore the urgent need for heightened awareness regarding the dangers of distracted driving.
The USAA data also highlights the top 10 states with the highest and lowest smartphone distraction rates. These states had the highest levels of distracted driving incidents. This includes texting, phone calls, and other cell phone distractions. Texas ranked No. 9 with a smartphone distraction rate of 14%. The states with the highest distraction rates in the nation include Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina.
What message does this report send to distracted drivers?
USAA encourages all drivers to prioritize safety, regardless of where their state ranks. This includes:
- Turning off cell phones or switching them to "Do Not Disturb" mode and storing them out of reach.
- Setting GPS, adjusting music, and resolving any potential distractions before driving.
- Concentrating solely on driving and refraining from activities that divert focus from the road.
- Pulling over to respond to urgent text messages or phone calls.
- Asking passengers for help with tasks.
- Using telematics apps to provide feedback on driving habits.
What should I do if I get hit by a distracted driver?
An accident involving a distracted driver can happen in a split second, but the aftermath can last for months (sometimes years). If you or a loved one was injured in a crash involving a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your crash.
However, getting fairly compensated for an accident that was not your fault isn't always as easy as it should be. The car accident lawyers at The Marye Law Firm, P.C. in Dallas can gather the facts to support your case and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. To find out how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free consultation.