Distracted driving is a serious problem on our nation's roadways, including in Texas. There is now a ban on texting while driving in Texas and it is important for victims who have been harmed in a car accident caused by a distracted driver to be familiar with their legal rights and protections.
Unfortunately, the problem is real. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that one in five accidents in Texas involves a distracted driver. During 2016, distracted drivers were involved in a total of 109,658 traffic accidents, which resulted in 3,000 serious injuries to victims and 455 victim fatalities throughout the state. Texting while driving increases the likelihood of being in a car accident by 23 times.
Distracted driving includes a variety of behaviors, such as eating while driving, applying makeup or shaving while driving, reading a newspaper while driving or accessing a cell phone and texting while driving. Penalties are in place to fine distracted drivers and criminal charges may also apply in some circumstances. In addition to citations and potential criminal liability, a distracted driver may also be liable to compensate victims for their damages. Citations and criminal charges may be used as evidence of negligence against a distracted driver in a personal injury claim for damages.
Victims of distracted driving-related car accidents may be able to recover compensation for the physical, financial and emotional damages they suffer as a result. Because the impact of a distracted driving-related car accident on the lives of victims can be far-reaching, it is important for victims to be aware that there are legal options available to them and to understand the remedies available so that they can seek legal recourse.