Cell Phone Use Was Cause of Tragic Argyle Auto Accident

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Four Killed In Devastating Crash

26 year-old Ashli Morgan was driving southbound when her car crossed the center line and crashed head-on into Emma Shaffer’s vehicle several weeks ago. Both women and their daughters tragically died.

This story would be incredibly sad no matter the circumstances. But, the fact that the crash was entirely preventable makes it even more devastating.

Investigators have just announced that Ms. Morgan was on the phone at the time of the head-on collision that our state legislators and governor need to rein in.

As an injury lawyer, I unfortunately see that cell phone use — especially texting while driving — causes a huge number of crashes.

Dangers of Texting While Driving

People who might generally be careful and conscious about putting their loved ones and others at risk nonetheless do not appreciate the dangers of texting while driving.

The average text takes five seconds to read or write, which might not sound long, but, a lot can happen in five seconds when you are travelling 60 mph.

Everyday, the news reports distracted driving accidents. We’ve heard the statistics. We know about the risks. And, yet, the problem is growing worse, not better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 431,000 people were injured and 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2014, a significant increase over the previous year’s injury and death rates.

The number of drivers who texted while driving predictably increased during the same period. It doesn’t take a Rice University graduate (like my brilliant claims manager) to deduce that more drivers texting is likely to result in more accidents. Logic also dictates that reducing the amount of texting on the roadway would also cut down on distracted driving crashes.

Oddly, far too many Texas lawmakers consider this dangerous activity a personal right.

Texas Lawmakers, it’s Time to Pass Statewide Anti-texting Law

Kudos to the legislators who have repeatedly tried to pass anti-texting legislation. The last attempt was in 2015 when Rep. Tom Craddick’s bill passed the House, but never made it to the floor of the Senate. His bill in 2013 passed both chambers, but was vetoed by then Governor Rick Perry, who said the law would “micromanage the behavior of adults.”

Texas laws forbid drinking while driving, speeding, running red lights and engaging in other conduct that puts motorist at risk. How is prohibiting texting while driving any different?

Because using a phone is legal, drivers feel like it is ok to do so. As with driving while intoxicated, some motorists would continue to disobey an anti-texting law. However, many law-abiding people would feel compelled to put their phones down.

Sadly, this month’s fatal distracted driving accident once again highlights the need for a statewide prohibition on cell phone use by drivers. Had the driver risked a ticket, she probably would have waited to send her fateful text.

To repeat what anti-texting proponents say for the next time you’re tempted to text while driving: put it down, it can wait.

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