Articles Posted in Texting While Driving

dreamstime_xs_33822870-300x254Distracted driving is one of the main reasons Texas again led all states with an incredible 3,757 fatalities and 263,000 injuries from auto and truck crashes last year. Everyone knows it’s dangerous — but almost everyone does it, especially younger drivers.

Hopefully we are one step closer to finally stopping — or at least reducing — texting while driving. Today the House of Representatives approved a bill that bans this dangerous practice. On Monday a Senate committee approved the companion Bill 31 which is now headed to the full Senate for a vote.

Texas lawmakers first sponsored an anti-texting bill in 2009 but it was defeated. Knowing the law was vital, lawmakers led by former Speaker of the House Tom Craddick also sponsored bills in the next three sessions, but all were struck down.

As a result, more than 100 towns and cities have had to pass their own ordinances prohibiting cell phone use including Arlington, Grand Prairie, Hurst, and Denton here in North Texas. It’s hard to know where you can and can’t text legally. A state-wide ban would end the confusion and extend this badly needed protection to all Texans.
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https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/01/Screen-Shot-2017-01-04-at-12.18.56-PM-300x226.pngTwo Texas-Based Lawsuits Attempt Uphill Battle

Texting from behind the wheel has reached epidemic proportions, with 53% of drivers admitting to this dangerous practice in a recent poll.

Don’t think this is a problem? More than 35,000 drivers died in 2015 in collisions, a huge 10 1/2 percent rise over the year before. And the alarming 2016 number is predicted to be 14% higher by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

Still don’t think this affects you? The chances of dying in a crash in the U.S. are 1.3% — the highest rate in the industrialized world. By comparison, this rate is over six times that in Norway and Sweden, which have snowy/icy road conditions much of the year.

We know that rampant cell phone use is often responsible for automobile “accidents” in America. Many countries ban texting while driving and fine offenders heavily.

So what about holding the companies and carriers creating this epidemic accountable? Just like other corporations, should Apple, Samsung, AT&T and Verizon be held responsible for the damages caused by their products and services?

This is the argument at least two families have made to achieve justice after losing loved ones in distracted driving accidents. Families of these victims have filed products liability lawsuits against Apple claiming the corporation was negligent in selling a product it knew would be used while driving and cause injury to others.

Two women killed and young boy paralyzed by texting driver

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cell-phone-modeWhen we get on an airplane, we hear the announcement to switch our phones to airplane mode. We do it, right?

So what if when we started our vehicles, we heard the same announcement?

We’d presumably turn the phone off.

A new software program called “Driver mode” will do that for us.

It’s about time that cell phones make us drive more safely and reduce our shocking number of crashes. Continue reading

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Driving while texting or looking for Pokémon is not very smart.

But some smart phone apps actually increase drivers’ safety.

That’s right, I’m encouraging drivers to use an app while driving — but only safe driving ones, of course.

OK, which ones? Let’s start with ones helping our youngest drivers be more safe on the roads.

The best ones will help your teenager have fun while learning to drive safely. Let’s face it, having his or her beloved cell phone tell your teen to slow down is a lot more fun than you repeatedly pointing out she’s speeding.

I’ve lived through this experience and lots of you have too and will agree that you’re glad there’s a better way to do it now.
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dreamstime_xs_59634563Texas teens collided their vehicles into other cars, bicyclists and pedestrians. But fortunately these frightening events did not actually happen but were only images on a virtual reality game on a computer screen.

Participants were given the eye-opening experience through the national “It Can Wait” campaign to teach them the dangers of distracted driving.

Visitors of all ages participated in the virtual video game which consists of special goggles and a wheel shaped joystick. The video takes the participant on a realistic-looking ride along winding roads, and puts joggers, bicyclists and children in the path of the virtual car. Eventually the distractions result in an inevitable car crash.

The video game should be required before driver’s licenses are issued.

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Easy — stop distracted driving. More specifically, stop texting while driving.

I know, good luck with that, right? It seems like every other person around you as you drive is looking down at his or her seat texting away.

This alarming epidemic is out of control.

Maybe you’re the victim of a crash caused by a driver who was texting while driving.  Statistics are on your side.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distraction was a primary factor in 3,129 traffic fatalities in 2014, the most recent year in which statistics have been analyzed. And a recent study showed that people were distracted more than 50% of the time — and texting, reaching for a cell phone, browsing the Internet and reading email, and dialing numbers caused 70% of serious crashes.

We personal injury lawyers are far too busy representing injured people who were the victims of these careless drivers.

The next time someone is driving while sending a text message, he should remember  “the last emoji,” a poignansearcht reminder of the dangers of texting and driving. It’s a huge sculpture in Miami made out of car parts the artist found in a junk yard twisted into a winking, demented face.  OMG. Continue reading

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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.

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Drivers Are Not Looking At Road More Than 50% of Time 

A new study has concluded what all of us should know by now: texting and calling while driving are way out of control. Not that it takes much imagination to figure out that the guy next to you staring down at his phone puts you at a high risk of being in a crash.

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers studied various distractions to determine which conduct was riskiest. They analyzed millions of miles of driving information gathered during a three year period. 

The researchers found that drivers engaged in distracting behavior during more than half of all trips which doubled their risk of an auto accident. In fact, of the more than 900 severe accidents the researchers analyzed, distractions played a role almost 70 percent of the time. 

Dialing, Reading and Writing Are Riskiest Conduct

The researchers ranked the risks of driving distractions:

  • Dialing a phone, which increased a driver’s chance of an accident by 12 times, was ranked the number one most dangerous distraction.
  • Reading and writing increased chance of an auto crash by 10 times.
  • Reaching to pick up an item, excluding a cell phone, increased risk of crashing by nine times. 
  • Texting resulted in a six times increase in risk of a wreck.
  • Reaching for a cell phone increased the risk by almost five times. 
  • Browsing the Internet and reading email nearly tripled a driver’s chance of crashing.

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The New York Times just wrote a good article warning about the catastrophe we have with our young drivers and their addiction to cell phones and technology.

I’ve blogged about this problem here and and here many times and see what a serious problem it is on a daily basis in my practice as a personal injury lawyer. We were just hired on a new case caused by a teen aged boy and you can bet a cell phone is involved.

Statistics reveal that in 2013, a shocking one million teenage drivers were involved in motor vehicle accidents — and those are just the ones where police were called. As a result, there were 373,645 injuries and 2,927 deaths. There were an average of six teenagers a day who died.

“If you’re going to have an early, untimely death,” said Dr. Nichole Morris, a researcher at the University of Minnesota, “the most dangerous two years of your life are between 16 and 17 and the reason for that is driving.”

Deaths due to motor vehicle accidents for this age group far exceeds suicide, cancer and other types of accidents, Dr. Morris said. There is no reason for this with safer roads and vehicles.

How To Prevent Teenage Driving Crashes

1. Turn off or disable the cell phone. Better yet, do not let your teen driver even have one when he or she drives. Obviously. It is a well known fact that teens drive while watching their phones more than any other group. They take it for granted.

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Investment Guru Blames Texting and Driving on Skyrocketing Insurance Premiums

We know texting and driving is dangerous and expensive, but a letter released by Warren Buffet highlights the massive costs to insurance companies — and to you, the insured making payments each month.

Warren Buffet is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, parent corporation of GEICO Insurance Company, which together with its subsidiaries pulls in a whopping $1.3 billion a year in the eye-popping $16 billion a year Texas market each year. 

In his annual report to his company’s shareholders, the Oracle of Omaha named the reason national profits at his insurance company had shrunk from $1.16 billion in 2014 to only $460 million last year.

What could cause this? Bad weather? An increase in DWIs?  No, too many distracted drivers. 

The National Safety Council just revealed that the U. S. experienced an alarming eight percent increase in traffic fatalities from 2014 to 2015. This is the largest year-to-year increase in 50 years. 

I’m not suggesting you pull out a violin to mourn the lower profits of this corporate giant. But Buffet’s observation will have a huge impact on all of us.

First, the insurance world is finally figuring out that it has a major problem on its hands.  Allstate’s profits declined by 50% last year. 

Second, we all know that our insurance companies will pass on their increased costs of paying claims and verdicts to us policyholders.

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