Injuries and Deaths Caused by Texting and Driving Car Accidents Are a Growing Problem in Houston, Texas, and Nationwide
Unfortunately, it’s now all too common for many Houston area drivers to look over and see the driver next to them engrossed in their cell phone and barely paying attention to their car or the other vehicles on the road. This dangerous trend is part of a nationwide problem throughout Houston, Texas, and the entire United States. Cell phone use while driving causes a large number of crashes, injuries, and deaths every year.
For someone injured in a car accident in Texas, it is important to determine whether the accident was caused by texting and driving or other illegal cell phone use.
Cell phone use while driving is a significant problem throughout the entire United States, including Houston
A 2015 study conducted by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) surveyed a representative sample of 1,211 drivers throughout the United States about their cell phone use while driving. Nearly 48% of respondents reported reading texts while driving within the past 30 days, and 33% reported writing texts while driving in the past 30 days.
In 2023, cell phone use while driving is still a significant problem. In a recent survey conducted by AAA:
- 96% of respondents said they believed texting or emailing while driving was a serious or very serious threat to their safety
- 39% admitted to reading a text or email while driving in the past month
- 29% admitted to typing a text or email while driving in the past month
Cell Phone Use While Driving is Illegal in the State of Texas
Texas Transportation Code Sections 545.424 – 545.4353 prohibits cell phone use while driving throughout the State of Texas. According to the TxDOT:
- “You cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving in Texas.
- Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using cellphones in the first six months of driving.
- Using any handheld device in your vehicle in a school zone is illegal.
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices.
- School bus drivers may not use cellphones at all while driving if children are present.
- Cellphone laws can change from city to city.”
Cell Phone Use While Driving is Dangerous and Increases the Likelihood of Accidents, Injury, and Death
Numerous simulation studies and studies with paneled vehicles have confirmed that drivers who are viewing information or writing on their cell phones have a significantly increased risk of collision or near-collision events.1 These results were also confirmed by vehicle naturalistic studies.2
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2022 one out of every six crashes on a Texas roadway was caused by distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Accidents Causing Injury or Death Continue to be a Problem in the Greater Houston Area
Drivers in the greater Houston area are definitely a part of the bigger problem of drivers texting and using their phone while driving. Between January and April of 2018, City of Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo shared that the Houston Police Department had issued over 700 tickets for texting and driving.
In 2022, to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving and its impact, AAA Texas and the Houston Police Department collaboratively produced the video Sidetracked: A Brutal Documentary on the Realities of Distracted Driving.
Despite these and numerous other public information and education efforts, unfortunately it appears that cell phone use while driving is so prevalent and widespread that significantly reducing distracted driving and injuries and deaths caused by distracted driving will likely be a long and difficult process requiring significant time, effort, and resources to reduce this dangerous behavior and make the roads safer for all drivers as a result.
What Should I Do if I Was Injured in a Car Accident and the Other Driver May Have Been Texting and Driving or Using their Cell Phone?
If you were injured in a car accident in Houston or anywhere else in Texas, one of the questions that is worth asking is whether the accident was caused by a distracted driver.
Sometimes it may be obvious that cell phone use or other distracted driver behaviors were a potential issue in causing the car accident. In those situations, make sure to document that evidence by taking photos or videos on your phone if possible, and pointing out this information to the officer investigating the crash when they speak with you. Of course, make sure to also get all of the other driver’s information and follow the proper steps that need to be taken at the scene of a car accident to secure the scene and document the relevant information.
Don’t argue with the other driver, demand to see their cell phone to check if they were using it, or engage in any other confrontational or accusatory behavior. This is only likely to aggravate the situation without leading to anything productive.
Speak to a Houston Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you believe cell phone use or other distracted driving may have caused the accident, it is important to contact a Houston car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Using the proper legal tools and following the appropriate procedural steps, if cell phone data and other cell phone related information is potentially relevant to the injury claim, a car accident lawyer can work to obtain cell phone call, text, and data use records for the time period around the crash to determine if the driver was using a cell phone in the time period leading up to the crash.
While general information about data use, calls, and text messages can usually be acquired sometime after the crash without any issues, other information related to cell phone use may be more time sensitive. If the other driver’s whereabouts in the time period before the crash are possibly relevant to the issue of what caused the crash, this information can be obtained from a cell phone by a qualified expert, but it is time sensitive and must be preserved quickly to not be lost. In these types of situations where there is potential relevant information on a driver’s cell phone which is time sensitive, a car accident lawyer can work to request a temporary restraining order from the court, which would facilitate the necessary steps to preserve the evidence until it can be collected and analyzed.
Finally, in addition to reviewing and analyzing cell phone data, a qualified car accident attorney can also perform a thorough investigation of the other driver, including locating and reviewing any social media accounts to determine if any activity on those accounts indicates that the other driver may have been distracted, and this may have been the cause of the crash.
Our experienced Houston car accident attorneys have represented clients who were injured in car accidents throughout the greater Houston area, including in cases involving distracted drivers. If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, contact The Kishinevsky Law Firm today to schedule a fee consultation to discuss how we may be able to help you with your situation.
1 Impact of texting on young drivers’ behavior and safety on urban and rural roads through a simulation experiment. Journal of Safety Research Volume 49, June 2014, Pages 25.e1-31.
Driver performance while text messaging using handheld and in-vehicle systems. Accident Analysis & Prevention Volume 43, Issue 3, May 2011, Pages 939-947
A meta-analysis of the effects of texting on driving. Accident Analysis & Prevention Volume 71, October 2014, Pages 311-31
2 Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations. September 2009. Repository & Open Science Access Portal.
Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers. The New England Journal of Medicine 2014; 370:54-59 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1204142
In April 2015, Leonid Kishinevsky started the Kishinevsky Law Firm, focusing his practice primarily on personal injury litigation. As a personal injury lawyer providing representation to clients throughout the greater Houston area, he assists people who have suffered economic and noneconomic losses and harms due to the fault of other people or companies.