How effective are distracted driving laws?

Man using phone while driving the car

Imagine a driver looking at his or her smartphone for 5 seconds while traveling 55 mph. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the stark reality is that driver was essentially driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed.

People look at mobile devices every day while they’re behind the wheel. Sometimes that decision has tragic consequences, as a car accident caused by a distracted driver can result in serious injuries and fatalities.

According to an article in Forbes, a new report finds deadly distracted driving accidents increased in 2019 compared to the year before. The report explores laws, enforcement, and public educational practices related to distracted driving in the United States and Canada. The conclusion: Places with stronger distracted driving laws see fewer deadly accidents.

A collaborative effort to combat distracted driving

The report is the first project from the Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program. It was completed as part of a partnership between the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the Transportation Research Board, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

All states have distracted driving laws on the books, but they vary. For example, some states ban handheld cellphone use by all drivers. Others ban some drivers, such as drivers younger than 18, from holding a mobile device behind the wheel. The penalties also vary from state to state.

Texas law bans texting while driving anywhere in the state, but cellphone use by drivers is allowed in some cities. The GHSA reports that several states are considering enhancing their distracted driving laws.

What distracted driving laws work the best?

According to the project, effective ways to reduce distracted driving include:

  • Laws with clear language that state when and how a mobile device can and cannot be used while driving.
  • Fines that correspond with other traffic citations.
  • High visibility law enforcement combined with distracted driving education campaigns.

What to do if you’re in a crash caused by a distracted driver

We recently discussed how Texas was named the third-worst state in the country for bad drivers, but that study only focused on those who speed or operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. There’s no question that distracted drivers can be just as dangerous.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, your life can quickly get turned upside-down. You may need to have surgery and undergo other medical procedures. You may not be able to work. You might not even be able to enjoy your life the same way you once could before you were hurt. And if someone you love died, you may be facing serious financial problems on top of emotional devastation.

The insurance company for the at-fault driver, however, may downplay the seriousness of your claim. Dealing with the insurance company on your own, it’s easy to feel like you’re being treated unfairly.

That’s why you need an experienced car accident attorney who can be your advocate and help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve. The Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood fights for accident victims in Texas who face serious injury or who have lost loved ones because of negligence. Let us handle your claim and the insurance companies while you focus on your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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With offices in Galveston and Houston, the Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood serve clients throughout Texas. Whether it’s helping injury victims in truck accidents, construction accidents or other accidents due to negligence, Attorney Hagood works tirelessly to get people the compensation they rightfully deserve.

Gene Hagood