Driving a vehicle takes a considerable amount of focus. The briefest moment of distraction can have disastrous results, a fact that countless numbers of drivers find out the hard way every day. Distracted driving has become an increasingly serious problem on our roads, especially since the emergence of smartphones as a staple in our daily lives.
We can be distracted in several different ways – by our cell phones, conversations with other passengers in our vehicles and eating or drinking when behind the wheel. Some drivers are more skilled than others when it comes to focusing on the task at hand. Unfortunately, those of us who fall short can cause major injuries to others on the road, and you will need the help of Dallas distracted driving accident lawyers.
At Guajardo & Marks, we have seen the terrible impact a distracted driver has on victims. We are proud to offer our services to those who have been injured because of a negligent driver. We prepare all our cases to make sure that our clients get the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving crash, call us at 972.774.9800 for a free initial consultation about your case.
Why Do I Need a Distracted Driving Lawyer?
The court system in Dallas is a complicated maze of filings, motions and legal arguments. If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident and are spending time in the hospital, going to doctors’ appointments, getting X-rays or undergoing physical therapy, the last thing you want to do is navigate the legal system alone. Let Guajardo & Marks relieve you of that burden. We will represent you aggressively in court to make sure you are compensated for lost wages, disability and pain and suffering.
By hiring an experienced distracted driving attorney, you are more likely to receive personalized attention and compassionate guidance. Your chances of winning a significant financial settlement increase when you are represented by a tough and experienced personal injury attorney.
How Much Does a Dallas Distracted Driving Attorney Cost?
We work on a contingency fee, which means we don’t get paid unless you win your case. No up-front payment from you is required. We believe passionately in what we do, and we are prepared to postpone any fee until you are awarded a financial settlement. Then you can pay us at that time. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid.
Texas Distracted Driving Statistics
Texas is the 47th state in the country to adopt a law banning texting and driving, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Here are the statistics:
- First offense for texting while driving is punishable by a fine of up to $99.
- Repeat offenders will have to pay $200 for texting and driving.
- One in five crashes today involve distracted driving.
- In 2017, the total number of motor vehicle traffic accidents in Texas was 537,475. Of those, 19% (100,687) involved distracted driving.
- The 100,687 Texas distracted driving crashes resulted in 444 deaths and 2,889 injuries.
Distracted Driving Facts
- Distracted driving contributes to around 5,000 deaths every year in the United States.
- Distracted driving is a factor in around 16 percent of all fatal crashes.
- Even after putting away their phone, people remain distracted for up to 27 seconds.
- Around 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving at any given moment in the United States.
- Sending just one text while driving increases your chances of being involved in a crash by 23 times.
Young Drivers and Distracted Driving
Of all age groups, teen drivers are the most likely to be distracted behind the wheel. One AAA study found that teens are distracted nearly 25% of the time. Another study from AAA found that nearly 60%of fatal teen crashes involved some form of distracted driving, with the two most common distractions being extra passengers in vehicles and using a cell phone while driving. Younger drivers are not only more likely to drive distracted, they are also more likely than other drivers to think that texting behind the wheel is acceptable behavior.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a distracted driving accident caused by a teen driver, you have rights under the law. Call Guajardo & Marks at 972.774.9800 for a free initial consultation about your case.
Examples of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving includes any task that takes your attention off the road. Texting or using a mobile device are the activities most commonly associated with distracted driving, but other common activities can also be classified as distracted driving. According to the official U.S. government website tracking distracted driving, they include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating behind the wheel
- Drinking behind the wheel
- Talking to passengers
- Grooming or using mirror for purposes other than driving
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching or streaming a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player.
It’s also worth noting that these activities could be done simultaneously. For example, a driver talking on their cell phone might also be adjusting their radio, increasing their chances of being involved in a crash and injuring another person.
According to EndDistractedDriving, traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: Manual, Visual and Cognitive.
- Manual distractions are those in which you remove your hands from the wheel.
- Visual distractions are those in which you focus your eyes away from the road.
- A cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders away from the task of driving.
Cell Phone Use and Distracted Driving
- People are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%. (University of Utah study)
- Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers.
- Text messaging increases the risk of crash or near-crash by 23 times. (Virginia Technical Transportation Institute, USDOT)
- Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph. (NHTSA)
- More than 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send email while driving. Nevertheless, 36% of these same people admit to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
If you or someone you know has been severely injured in a crash with a distracted driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact a distracted driving attorney at Guajardo & Marks at 972.774.9800 for a free initial consultation about your case.
State Distracted Driving Laws as of July 2017
EndDistractedDriving tracks statistics for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It also publishes research reports by universities and government agencies studying distracted driving:
- Hand-held Cell Phone Use: 15 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. All are primary enforcement laws—an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
- All Cell Phone Use: No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit it for school bus drivers.
- Text Messaging:Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban, in 2007. Currently, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 4 have primary enforcement. Of the 3 states without an all-driver texting ban, 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
- Texas: Texas does not have a ban on hand-held cell phone use by adults in vehicles, but all drivers under 18 are banned from using cell phones while driving. All drivers in Texas are banned from texting while driving.
- Cell phone use is banned for Texas school bus drivers when passengers are 17 years old and under.
- Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones in all school zones.
When Distraction Leads to Serious Injuries
Distracted drivers can wreak havoc in a vehicle accident, causing any number of serious injuries. These injuries can be debilitating on several different levels, leading to pain, suffering, expensive medical treatment, medication, time off from work, loss of work capacity, property damage and a decreased quality of life. Some of the most severe injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs or amputations
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death.
- 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015 (NHTSA)
- 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected.
- Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27% of 2015 car crashes.
- In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. (NHTSA)
- The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over. (IIHS)
- Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
Risk Estimates that a Distracted Driving Attorney Understands
Six studies conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute provide a snapshot of risk estimates for crashes caused by distracted driving. A good distracted driving attorney is familiar with these risk factors and knows how to dig for all the facts surrounding your injury collision.
For light vehicles or cars:
- Dialing a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 2.8 times as high as non-distracted driving.
- Talking or listening to a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.3 times as high as non-distracted driving.
- Reaching for an object such as an electronic device made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.4 times as high as non-distracted driving.
For heavy vehicles or trucks:
- Dialing a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 5.9 times as high as non-distracted driving.
- Talking or listening to a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.0 times as high as non-distracted driving.
- Use of, or reaching for, an electronic device made the risk of crash or near-crash event 6.7 times as high as non-distracted driving.
- Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving.
How a Victim of Distracted Driving Can Take Legal Action
When victims suffer injuries due to a negligent, distracted driver, they can file a personal injury lawsuit to gain compensation for the damages they have suffered. These claims offer an injured person a way to cope with the setbacks and incredible financial fallout after a major vehicle crash.
If a distracted driver takes the life of another person, the victim’s family can file a claim. Survivors may file what is called a “wrongful death” claim through which they can seek compensation for suffering, lost income, funeral bills, burial costs and other expenses associated with the loss of their loved one.
Guajardo & Marks Are Your Advocates
Our Dallas distracted driving attorneys have years of experience helping clients hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. We have built our practice to accommodate victims that have suffered from an accident due to distracted driving in the Dallas area, and we can offer our clients aggressive, dedicated legal services to make sure their needs are met. We offer free consultations, and we earn no fee unless we win your case. Contact Guajardo & Marks today 972.774.9800 to learn more about your options.