Yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that they have initiated their own investigation of an accident near Corpus Christi that claimed the lives of three teenage girls from the Houston area.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, apparently, four teens were returning home from a spring break trip to South Padre Island and the driver was using the GPS on her cell phone to determine the best way to get back home, when she suddenly over-corrected and drove the car head-on into an 18-wheeler.
The three teen girls who died were identified as Jade Robinson, 17, Brianna Robinson, 19, and Brittanie Johnson, 18, all attended Bellaire High School, where grief counselors were on duty Monday morning to help comfort any grieving students. Jade Robinson was the captain of the Bellaire High girls’ volleyball team and had recently received a full scholarship to attend Tennessee Wesleyan in the fall.
The NTSB has decided to get involved with the investigation because distracted driving is near the top of their list when it comes to transportation safety improvements and, since the use of a cell phone was reported as a possible cause, they want to look into which issues are involved and whether improvements can be made in the future.
April has been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month and safety experts all over the country have been looking at the problem and how they can reduce the 3,000 or so people killed in distracted driving accidents every year. This is a major problem in the state of Texas and all over the country and it’s not limited to using GPS to find directions. For example, a recent insurance industry study of the problem looked at three months’ of social media posts and found thousands of posts of pictures people took while driving, with most of them coming from California, Florida, and Texas. That means thousands of drivers who don’t have both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
Texas plans to make the most of Distracted Driving Awareness Month and urge drivers to put their mobile devices where they can’t see or hear them, and pay attention to the road, for a change. This is necessary because the statistics are daunting, with as many as one out of every five Texas crashes being caused by a distracted driver. The numbers place Texas among the worst in the country when it comes to distracted driving.
What makes this car accident so devastating is that it’s all too typical. While drivers of all ages drive distracted, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hand-held cell phone use while driving is highest with drivers aged 16-25. Given that drivers who use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle are up to four times more likely to get into a crash that causes injury, that is something that should concern everyone.
TxDOT will use next month to emphasize that every crash is preventable if all drivers paid 100% of their attention to the road and the act of driving. They plan to attempt to get drivers to avoid multitasking or engaging in non-driving activities until they get where they’re going.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a traffic accident, and you believe the driver who caused the accident was distracted at the time, contact the Texas Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer at the Hill Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we can help you protect your rights.