Distracted driving is a significant problem that plagues roadways not only in Austin, Texas but throughout the U.S. In fact, the issue has become so pervasive and widespread that many law enforcement and public health agencies describe it as an epidemic.

The National High Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving claimed nearly 3,500 lives in 2016 alone and contributed to nearly 400,000 people suffering injuries. Every time you travel on a street, highway, or interstate, there’s a good chance you’ll drive near a distracted driver. That’s because studies show that nearly 500,000 drivers are using their cell phones at any given time during daylight hours.

At the Law Office of Joel A. Levine, our Texas distracted driving accident attorneys know how dangerous texting while driving is for both the people who do it, their passengers, and other motorists. We also believe that drivers know better than to engage in such risky behavior. That’s why we do everything in our power to hold those drivers accountable when their negligence causes others to suffer serious injuries.

What Steps Are Being Taken to Address the Issue?

Because of widespread publicity surrounding the dangers of distracted driving, more and more states are passing laws aimed at reducing the problem. Texas enacted a law that became effective on Sept. 1, 2017, that banned texting while driving throughout the state. Motorists are now forbidden from reading, writing, or sending electronic messages while they’re behind the wheels of their vehicles.

A spokesperson with the Texas Department of Transportation says that one in five auto accidents in the state is caused by distracted driving. In fact, nearly 110,000 crashes in the state in 2016 involved distracted driving, and those accidents resulted in 455 deaths and nearly 3,100 serious injuries.

Drivers who are caught by police sending or reading text messages face penalties of up to $99. Second-time and subsequent offenders are subject to fines of up to $200. In addition, some cities have enacted their own ordinances in addition to state law. For example, Austin has an ordinance that bans the usage of all electronic hand-held devices while operating a vehicle or bicycle. In addition, the city also imposes fines of up to $500 for anyone caught using electronic devices while on the city’s roadways.

Our legal team is also dedicated to holding distracted drivers responsible for the damages they cause to innocent victims. We believe that the people who are hurt because of others’ negligence shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for their own medical bills and lost wages—especially when their injuries prevent them from going to work. It’s our goal to help victims get maximum compensation for their accident-related expenses.

Distracted Driving Goes Beyond Cell Phones

Although most people think of cell phones when they hear the phrase distracted driving, there are many other types of distracted driving that can contribute to auto accidents. They include:

Eating and drinking—Fast food restaurants have made this problem all too common. Eating and drinking requires taking your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and your mind off the task of driving—all of which can increase the chances of an accident.

Using a navigation system—Whether it’s a standalone GPS unit, an in-car navigation system, or a smartphone’s maps function, using a GPS system can help you avoid traffic and save time. But it can also be highly distracting. Using turn-by-turn directions can help you stay focused on the road instead of the screen.

Adjusting in-car controls—Today’s vehicles are packed with features and controls. From in-dash entertainment systems to buttons and knobs to adjust mirrors, seat positions, and even outside noise, the sheer amount of options that drivers have at their disposal can be overwhelming and distracting. Always make those changes before and after you drive—not during—to maintain your focus and concentration on the task at hand.

How We Can Help

Being injured in an auto accident in Austin, TX that was caused by a distracted driver is painful, stressful, and frustrating. At the Law Office of Joel A. Levine, we know how you feel. We’ve represented victims like you for many years, and we know the struggles you’re going through right now. You’re facing big medical bills that you may be unable to afford. And to make matters worse, your injuries may prevent you from returning to work for the foreseeable future.

You deserve compensation for what you’re going through, and our legal team knows how to help you get it. We’ll collect evidence that proves the other driver was distracted and that you weren’t at fault for the crash. Then, we’ll prove that your injuries were caused by the crash. Finally, we’ll negotiate with the insurance company to get the money you need to move forward with your life.

Don’t trust the insurance company to give you a fair settlement on their own. They’re notorious for giving victims “lowball” settlements that aren’t enough to pay for their initial accident-related expenses, let alone the costs they’ll face months or years later. We’ll calculate exactly how much money you deserve, and we won’t rest until you get it.

Get the help you deserve with a free case evaluation today. We’re ready to put our experience to work for you and your loved ones.