Articles Posted in Texting While Driving

dreamstime_xs_567292Good news: for years teenage traffic fatalities declined in Texas. From 2005 to 2014, the number of teen deaths dropped by 51 percent. Texas’s graduated licensing program, education, and safer cars seemed to be making a positive impact.

Bad news: in 2015 things took a turn for the worse when teen deaths unfortunately spiked by 9 percent. And based on what I’ve seen in my practice as an injury lawyer, I’m not optimistic about the release of the  2016 statistics.

How can we stop this from happening? And what can you do if you crashed into by a teenage driver?

Teens: drunk driving and speeding are nothing to brag about

Last week’s horrific YouTube video of an 18 year-old driving drunk and killing her younger sister and a Snapchat video which recorded a woman partying in the days before she was killed in a drunk driving crash have gone viral.

These videos ended tragically, but others in which drunk and speeding teen drivers miraculously survive continue to pop up on social media and actually be liked by peers and followers. The teens enjoy a few moments of minor fame for their risky escapade, which may be encouraging others to follow suit.

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drive-now-text-later-300x93Texas finally became the 47th state to pass a ban on texting while driving two weeks ago.

But for many of us, stringent restrictions on texting have been in place for years.

102 cities got tired waiting for state lawmakers to get on board with the rest of the country and passed their own cell phone ordinances.

In our DFW area, Arlington, Bedford, Grand Prairie, Hurst, Watauga, White Settlement, and other cities cracked down on negligent drivers. Arlington, for example, did this back in 2011.

That’s because it was obvious that texting while driving caused an obscene number of deaths and personal injuries. It is the number one cause, greater than driving while intoxicated and speeding combined.

In Texas last year, texting caused 455 people to lose their lives and over 3,000 others to be seriously injured — and those are just the cases where the police could get the at-fault driver to admit he or she was texting.

Here in Tarrant County, 22 drivers died and 236 suffered serious injuries. That’s maddening, right? Especially if you’ve been crashed into by someone texting.

Ironically, many Texans may see their local laws weakened now that the state has belatedly tiptoed into this important safety issue.

That’s because Governor Abbott has called a special legislative session in a few weeks. On the agenda is a law that will make the state’s anti-texting law supersede the stronger local laws that these cities and counties have on the books.  Continue reading

imagesFeature To Disable Phones While Driving

Cell phone use caused at least 391,000 traffic accidents and killed 3,477 people in the U.S. in 2015. But many drivers can’t break their addiction to this dangerous practice. A majority of people admit to texting while driving.

Apparently nothing short of the phone automatically shutting itself off can get texters to stop.

That’s the idea behind a long overdue feature on the newest version of the iPhone to be released this fall.

Your smartphone already detects when it is moving quickly. And there are apps already available that permit you to disable your phone while driving, including Carplay and Driver Mode.

The Apple’s iOS 11 will automatically disable iPhones once the vehicle begins moving. That means you won’t receive calls or text messages or be able to use certain distracting apps while you drive.

Apple had a patent for this technology since 2008 according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tyler. It seeks damages on behalf of the estates of two women who were killed and a 7-year-old boy who was rendered a paraplegic when their SUV was rear ended in East Texas in 2013 by a woman who was texting while driving. Other similar lawsuits have been filed across the country.

This new software clearly should have been installed many years ago.

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dreamstime_xs_33822870-300x254-300x254Hard work, common sense and perseverance have finally paid off. The governor signed a statewide texting while driving bill into law on Tuesday. I am thrilled!

The law was a long time coming. Rep. Tom Craddick tried four times over a decade to pass the anti-texting bill. Frustratingly, the bill failed each time. Once, the bill landed on Governor Perry’s desk, only to be vetoed because it “micromanage[d] adult driving behavior.”

When the bill takes effect on September 1st, Texas will become the 48th state to ban texting while driving — at least we weren’t last. Continue reading

dreamstime_xs_44085862Today’s Star Telegram editorial wisely observed that “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick should bring the texting-while-driving bill to the floor and let senators vote or explain why not at every victim’s funeral.”

Just a few weeks ago, the House again passed a bill for the fourth straight session that would ban texting while driving throughout the state. Our representatives know that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and voted to do something about it.

I see far too many car wrecks as a personal injury lawyer that are caused when a driver admits he or she didn’t see the car in front was at a complete stop because they were looking down at their cell phones.

We need to stop drivers from texting while driving. But once again, this common sense law appears to be in jeopardy of passing.

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C8HqSwqWsAAir07-e1493918519252Despite numerous innovations in auto and road safety, car collisions are increasing by the fastest pace in 50 years.

Car crash deaths jumped a huge 14 percent from 2014 to 2016. It is shocking that 40,200 people lost their lives in auto wrecks last year. Pedestrian deaths skyrocketed during that time period by an incredible 22 percent.

The reason? You guessed it: distracted driving.

This conclusion is not based merely upon my observations as an injury lawyer. The insurance industry has identified distracted driving as the catalyst for this alarming trend. In fact, texting and driving has had such a tremendous impact on the industry’s profits that insurance companies are finally jumping on board to combat the crisis. Continue reading

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, almost 100 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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