Because distracted driving has become a serious problem across Texas and across the country, the Texas Legislature has added a new wrinkle to driver’s education courses that they hope will change the culture and bring awareness to the problem. Since September 1, any teenager who applies for a driver’s license will be required to take a one-hour course on distracted driving as part of the application process.
Distracted Driving in Texas and Across the Country
When we say it’s a big problem, it’s not an exaggeration. Nationwide, more than 3,100 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013 alone. In addition, approximately 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents that same year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than one-fourth of all distracted drivers in fatal crashes were in their 20s and the age group with the largest number of drivers injured or killed in distracted driving crashes were under the age of 20. According to multiple studies, at least a quarter of teen drivers respond to at least one or more text messages every single time they drive, and even 10% of their parents admit to conducting multi-message text conversations while they drive. At any given moment in this country, more than 660,000 drivers are using their smartphone or some other electronic device while driving; a number that has remained steady since 2010.
Obviously, this is a problem that has to be dealt with, and the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Legislature believe that education is the key to reducing and eventually eliminating the problem is through education and they believe these courses are the best way to do that.
The one-hour class describes distracted driving as a dangerous epidemic on American and Texas roadways and it addresses a number of potential distractions, including the obvious talking and texting on a smartphone, as well as playing with the radio or a GPS device, eating and drinking, and even putting on makeup. The class includes a number of real-life stories and striking statistics designed to make teenagers aware and possibly get them to focus on the task at hand whenever they’re behind the wheel. The overall message is fairly basic; if you are driving, just try and stay off the phone.
These are all welcome developments, since drivers who are distracted endanger everyone on the road including themselves, their passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, and bystanders. Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency for people in Texas to underestimate the dangers of distracted driving and to believe that statistics don’t apply to them; that everyone else has a problem, but they are too skilled to ever cause an accident.
Texting and Driving is an Epidemic
Especially dangerous is texting while driving, because it combines several types of distractions into one major distraction, including visual, manual and cognitive distractions. These days, everyone leads a busy and stressful life, and we use our rapidly developing technology, especially smart phones, stay connected with family friends and even our employers. While the temptation to multitask while driving is very strong, the fact of the matter is, the brain can’t really do two things at once and driving takes 100% of your focus in order to keep yourself and everyone around you safe. These types of courses could go a long way to making people aware of the dangers and to get them to resist the temptation, and to keep their eyes and mind on the road in their hands on the wheel in order to prevent senseless tragedies.
While the temptation to multitask while driving is very strong, the fact of the matter is, the brain can’t really do two things at once and driving takes 100% of your focus in order to keep yourself and everyone around you safe. These types of courses could go a long way to making people aware of the dangers and to get them to resist the temptation, and to keep their eyes and mind on the road in their hands on the wheel in order to prevent senseless tragedies.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of an auto accident involving distracted driving in Texas, please call the experienced Distracted Driving Injury Attorneys at The Gutierrez Law Firm today, so that we can get you the compensation you deserve. All initial consultations are free, so call today.