The Importance of Distracted Driving in Austin Car and Truck Accidents.
Distracted Driving…what is it?
Distracted driving in Texas is “any activity that takes your attention away from driving.” Recently, however, distracted driving has become more directed at texting while driving. Nearly 1 and 4 accidents in Texas are related to Distracted Driving. Such a high correlation between distractions and driving accidents prompted Austin to pass local ordinances to ban cellphone use of any kind while driving (texting or talking).
Common Types of Distracted Driving
There are four main types of distracted driving:
1. Visual distraction (e.g. texting)
2. Auditory distraction (e.g., loud music)
3. Biomechanical distraction (e.g., adjusting stereo)
4. Cognitive distraction (e.g., daydreaming)
The top driving distractions
• Talking on the cell phone.
• Drinking or eating.
• Combing hair or adjusting makeup.
• Adjusting stereo or A/C.
• Interacting with other passengers.
• Pet distractions.
• Distractions outside of the car.
• Daydreaming or dozing off.
Can you be ticketed for Texting while Driving in Austin?
Yes. In Austin, law enforcement officers can pull you over for texting or talking on the phone while driving — even if you are not breaking any other laws such as speeding. Austin is a hands-free city and prohibits the use of all electronic hand-held devices while operating a vehicle or bicycle.
The fines for texting-while-driving in Austin can be up to $500.
Special Exceptions to Texting while Driving.
A driver of a motor vehicle may not use a phone, tablet, or other device to view, send, or compose an electronic message while moving, per existing City of Austin Ordinance No. 20091022-028 and Ordinance No. 20091217-090. This law is commonly known as the texting-while-driving ban. However, drivers may use their device to send messages while at a complete stop.
Why is Proving Distracted Driving Important?
Distracted Driving is important because it helps you establish who was at fault in the accident. And when it comes to accident compensation, a jury will award you an amount based on the percentage you were at fault.
So if you have been involved in a truck or car accident with another driver that was distracted while driving, you can use this to further prove their percentage of fault. For example, the other driver was speeding, ran a stop sign and texting at the same time they crashed into you establishes a high degree of fault on their part.
Further, distracted driving demonstrates that the other driver failed their “duty of care” to drive safely and acted negligently to maintain their vehicle safely. Negligence is critical in proving who is a fault in an accident which, in turn, effects the amount of settlement you may receive.
Distracted Driving in Austin is a becoming a critical element in car and truck accidents as it allows juries to clearly see proof of negligence.
Steven C. Lee is a personal injury lawyer in Austin, Texas specializing in truck accidents, car accidents, bicycle accidents, drunk driving accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction site accidents and wrongful death cases.
Steven C. Lee is a member of the Texas Bar, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Texas Trial Lawyers Association and a member of the BBB in Austin, TX. You can view Steven C. Lee’s LinkedIn Profile here.