Distracted driving crashes continue to climb in Texas

Distracted driving accidents continue to rise in Texas, but the problem may be bigger than texting and driving.

Distracted driving has become a major problem on Texas' roads and highways. According to the Odessa American, distracted driving crashes climbed by three percent last year compared to 2014. Those crashes led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries across the state. Safety experts note that while texting and driving and using a cellphone while behind the wheel of a car were certainly major reasons for that increase, other forms of distractions, such as talking to fellow passengers, also played a big role in that upward trend.

Distracted driving accidents

In 2015 there were 103,576 traffic accidents in Texas where distracted driving was a factor. That figure represents a three percent increase in distracted driving accidents from the year before. Furthermore, 463 people were killed in distracted driving-related crashes in Texas last year, while a further 3,076 people were injured. Younger drivers, aged between 16 and 34, were at the highest risk of being involved in a distracted driving accident.

Of course, using a cellphone while driving likely played a big role in the increase in distracted driving crashes. Officials note that trying to text while driving is highly dangerous and drivers who take their eyes off the road for just a couple seconds are essentially driving blind for the length of a football field.

Other forms of distracted driving

While it is important to stress just how dangerous texting and driving is, it is equally important to note that cellphones are not the only causes of distracted driving. In fact, according to the Houston Chronicle, the leading cause of distracted driving may not be cellphones, but rather other passengers.

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analyzed data from more than two million crashes nationwide. That report found that 57 percent of respondents who were involved in a crash said they were distracted by a fellow passenger, while 12 percent said they were distracted by a cellphone. While that report should not be misconstrued as suggesting that texting and driving is somehow less dangerous than talking to fellow passengers, it does underscore the fact that motorists need to refrain from all types of distractions while driving.

Involved in a crash?

With so many motorists driving while distracted, Texas' roads and highways can sometimes be scary and dangerous places. For those who have been involved in a crash that may have been caused by a distracted driver, the consequences can be devastating. Fortunately, a personal injury attorney can help those who have been injured, including by educating them about legal options that are available and whether a financial claim can be pursued against the potentially negligent or reckless driver who may have been at fault for the accident.