Smart phone ownership is up, more usage means more distractions in Texas and beyond. And it’s causing problems on our roadways.
Distracted driving is not harmless.
It’s deadly, in Houston, in Texas, and across America. Dramatic increases in serious, even fatal crashes make clear the terrible consequences just a moment of inattention can trigger. Double digit spikes across multiple accident categories are the dark underside of an improving economy.
Smart Phones Ownership Up
Reporting on testimony before a hearing by the National Transportation Safety Board, Bloomberg BNA says that insurance industry groups believe that distracted driving is behind much of the 14 percent increase in fatal crashes, 12.2 percent increase in severe accidents and 22 percent spike in pedestrian deaths, all since 2014. Robert Gordon, senior vice president for policy development at the Property Casualty Insurers Association zeroed in on smart phone usage.
“Smartphone ownership has more than doubled over the past five years, and it is not surprising that the percent of accidents involving phone distractions has increased, but we believe the real increase is far more than the official statistics,” Gordon said at the panel.
Panelists testified that drivers wrongly believe they can “multi-task”, driving while simultaneously checking email, browsing the web and even watching Netflix.
More Money, More Distractions, More Accidents
The increase in smart phones parallels growth in the economy leading to more people driving. Add to that lower gas prices, and good economic news for consumers which has all resulted in a dangerous side effect on the roadways. Bob Hunter with the Consumer Federation of America says the number of drivers has rebounded from a Great Recession low in 2008. “The big thing is more driving. In 2008, we had a real drop off in driving,” says Hunter.
The experts called for more education and stiffer penalties for distracted driving. Teens and college students need more education on the potentially deadly consequences of cell phone use while driving. Gordon believes that penalties with real bite will provide more of a deterrent. “Just a $200 ticket isn’t going to cut it,” he said. Accordingly, insurance lobbyists are on a state by state campaign to convince states to update distracted driving laws.
Teens and parents both guilty
This ABC news report shows shocking hidden camera video of teens distracted by their phones seconds before crashing. But it also makes clear that parents are just as guilty of the very thing they tell their teens not to do.
Houston’s Legal Experts in Distracted Driving Cases
Following the recent nightmarish church bus crash near Uvalde, Texas, involving a driver allegedly distracted by texting, the Texas House of Representatives passed a statewide ban on cell phone use while driving. It remains now for the senate to pass its version, followed by the governor’s signature.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you may be owed compensation from the driver and his or her insurance company. The layers of liability and insurance coverage are complex. To ensure full justice and compensation, you need an experienced distracted driver accident attorney. The Callahan Law Firm is ready to help you get justice.