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How Dangerous Is Texting While Driving?

To drive safely, motorists need to focus their full attention on the road. Any distraction that takes the mind, eyes, or hands off the act of driving can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, many drivers engage in distracted driving, focusing their attention on electronic devices instead of the road.

Texting while driving is a particularly dangerous act. If you are injured by a driver who was texting, you have the right to pursue legal action against him or her and recover the compensation that you deserve.

Distracted Driving Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is an extremely dangerous and deadly act. In 2019 alone, 3,142 people died in distracted driving collisions. Between 2012 and 2019, over 26,000 people died in collisions involving distracted drivers—a staggering number.

The NHTSA provides the following data on drivers and electronic device use in 2020.

  • 2.8% of drivers physically handled and used an electronic device while driving.
  • 2.6% of drivers talked on a handheld phone while driving.
  • At any given time during the day in 2020, 7.9% of drivers were using some type of handheld or hands-free phone.
  • Driver manipulation of a handheld device is more common among drivers aged 16- to 24-year-old drivers than other groups.

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

Texting is one of the most alarming distractions that drivers face. When you receive a message, your eyes move away from the road and focus on reading the text. When you respond to the text, you need to process the other person’s message and think about what you want to say next. You often need to pick up the phone, read the message, and type the response yourself. 

These actions remove your eyes, hands, and mind away from driving, heightening the risk of a collision. If you aren’t paying attention the road, you will not have enough time to respond to a sudden hazard or unexpected event. You could miss an upcoming red light or stop sign or fail to realize that your vehicle is swerving.

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Who Is Liable for a Distracted Driving Accident?

Because it is so dangerous, texting while driving is highly illegal in Texas. Texas is also a fault insurance state, meaning that negligent drivers are financially liable for any accidents they cause. If you are injured by a distracted driver, you have the right to file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault motorist and recover compensation for medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and other damages. 

To prove liability in a texting and driving accident, you and your attorney will need to gather enough evidence to establish the following four facts.

  • The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care. All drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely.
  • The at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care by texting while driving.
  • The at-fault driver’s breach of duty caused your accident and your injuries.
  • You sustained damages in the accident that you can recover through your claim.

While proving a distracted driving claim may seem straightforward, the litigation process can be highly complex. If you plan on pursuing a claim, it is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options. As soon as possible following your accident, schedule a consultation with a McAllen car accident lawyer to strategize your next steps.