Texas’s Largest City Prepares to Tackle What the State Has Not
In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed a bill to ban texting and driving. For some reason, Rick Perry vetoed that bill leaving Texas as one of the few states that does not have a ban on a known accident causing hazard. In the time, hundreds of Texans have lost their lives and thousands more have been seriously injured, some permanently disabled and injured, by distracted driving. Distracted driving is a very serious problem. According to information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 40% of American teens admit to having been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
- Drivers using hand-held devices while driving are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)
- Text messaging while driving creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)
- Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)
Given all of these realities, it should surprise no one that Mayor Annise Parker has announced that the city of Houston is considering an ordinance that would ban texting while driving, if the Texas State Legislature fails to enact a statewide ban, or Governor Perry once again vetoes such a ban.
The Mayor made the announcement as part of official festivities marking the start of the city’s campaign against texting while driving, which is known as “It Can Wait, Houston.” The program will attempt to use social media, news media and community activism to encourage people to stop the practice of reading or sending text messages while behind the wheel. The event coincides with April being National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
The Mayor called texting while driving an “epidemic” and suggested that any action must change the culture that says it’s okay to just take your eyes off the road for a moment, that it’s no big deal. But, as she also noted, because 13 percent of all Texas traffic fatalities could be blamed on texting while driving, “it is a big deal. It kills people.”
The dangers of texting and driving have been well-documented. Everyone has passed drivers on the road swerving only to later see that they are on their phone in some fashion. Pictures of motorcyclists, bicyclists and even cops in cruisers texting have found their way onto the internet as a parody of how bad people want to text no matter what they are doing. And while these are funny, the real danger created by a distracted driver–to themselves, their passengers, and others on the roadways–is very serious.
The Texas Distracted Driving Lawyer at Hill Law Firm has represented many people injured by the negligence of a distracted driver. Oftentimes, the cause for an accident cannot be easily explained until cell phone records are obtained through the discovery process. Further, Texas juries have shown their disgust with texting and driving and have handed out some very large verdicts in cases in which people were injured or killed by distracted drivers. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an automobile or truck accident, and you suspect distracted driving was a cause, call the Texas Texting and Driving Accident Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm today.