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TX accident lawyerAfter a recent head-on car accident in San Antonio that resulted in injuries, one of the drivers involved confessed to being distracted because she was scrolling through Instagram. Reading social media while driving is one of many examples of a distraction that can lead to a serious accident, and in Texas, it can not only result in civil liability in a personal injury lawsuit, but also criminal charges.

Texas Prohibits the Use of Social Media While Driving

Under Texas law, drivers are not permitted to read, write, or send an electronic message while their vehicle is in motion. While texting may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an electronic message, the law makes it clear that any readable data transmitted through a wireless device in order to communicate with another person is considered an electronic message, which includes an email or a social media post, like those found on Instagram. A driver in violation of this law can be fined at least $25 for a first offense and can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if the offense causes someone else’s death or serious injury.

Pursuing Compensation from a Distracted Driver in Texas

If you have been seriously injured in a car crash due to another driver’s social media use or another distraction, it may not be enough to know that he or she could be facing criminal charges. In order to recover from the damages you have suffered, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney who can help you file a lawsuit. It is important that you receive treatment for your injuries as soon as possible and that you collect any evidence you can from the scene of the accident, including photographs and witness testimony, as this can strengthen your case for compensation.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, a black pickup truck ran headlong into the back of a parked 18-wheeler, on the access road on West Loop 1604. The semi-truck had been waiting for a client to unload inventory when the pickup struck the truck, wedging itself under the trailer. The driver of the pickup later died from his injuries, though the truck driver was unharmed. Law enforcement believes that the pickup driver was “speeding and distracted,” and thus was the prime mover in causing the accident. While the truck driver was unharmed, this is often not the case in distracted driving accidents. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation from them.

Distraction Kills

Everyone gets distracted for small moments behind the wheel. However, distracted driving is a real danger to everyone on the road, because when a person’s attention is diverted away from operating their vehicle, it means that they have less time to react to other motorists or obstacles on the road, which in turn leads to higher fatality and injury rates. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that one in five crashes in Texas involve distracted driving, with the corresponding rise in casualties.

By far the most commonly seen distracting activity while driving is texting, as it takes one’s attention off the road for an average of 5 seconds. If someone is driving 55 miles per hour, that means that their attention is off the road for the average length of a football field. That said, there are many other types of distractions that can endanger one’s own passengers or other cars around you, including talking to passengers, adjusting the radio or other music player, eating, applying makeup, or rubbernecking at something outside the car.

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Texas accident lawyer, Texas wrongful death attorneyOn March 29, 13 members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels were killed when a truck collided with the bus they were riding in Uvalde County. Only one individual from the bus was hospitalized in critical condition and survived the crash. The 20-year-old driver of the truck was also injured and survived. While the exact cause of the collision is being investigated, there are reports that the young driver of the pickup truck was on prescription medication that could affect his faculties and was texting immediately prior to the crash. An affidavit from the driver uncovered he had taken Clonazepam, Ambien, and Lexapro prior to the accident and he admitted to being distracted by his cell phone. Considering the nature of the accident and its consequences, it is not surprising that a wrongful death suit has already been filed.

Wrongful Death Suit Following the New Braunfels’ Church Bus Crash

The son of one of the bus crash victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver in mid-April. The lawsuit alleges the driver’s negligence and gross negligence due to consuming prescription medications, smoking marijuana, texting while driving, and failing to control his vehicle resulted in the accident that caused a wrongful death. The lawsuit also names the truck driver’s father as a negligent party, stating there is evidence he was aware of his son’s drug abuse and dangerous habit of texting while driving. Due to the driver and his father’s negligent behavior, the plaintiff is seeking $1 million in damages.

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Texas accident attorney, Texas injury lawyerToward the end of March, a white Dodge pickup truck collided with a bus full of members of First Baptist New Braunfels church on U.S. 83 in Uvalde County. Thirteen people were killed. While the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, it has been reported that the truck driver admitted to texting while driving. There are also eight 911 calls from other motorists who reported the truck driving erratically prior to the crash. One caller described the truck as swerving into other lanes, including lanes of oncoming traffic, for approximately 20 minutes before the deadly crash occurred. If it is true that the driver was texting at the time of the crash, then this is a tragic reminder of the dangers of distracted driving.

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

As April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, it is appropriate to look at the dangers of paying attention to other things while behind the wheel instead of only driving. The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) reported there are more than 100,000 traffic accidents because of distracted driving every year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1,161 people are injured and eight killed in distracted driving crashes every day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 3,477 lives were lost in 2015 due to distracted driving.

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Texas accident attorney, Texas personal injury lawyerTexas Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, is attempting once again to get a statewide ban on cell phone use while driving through the state legislature. According to the representative, Texas is only one of four states that does not have a distracted driving law. Currently, Texas bans young drivers and bus drivers from using mobile phones while behind the wheel, and close to 100 cities have banned cell phone use while operating a vehicle at a municipal level. However, Craddick and others believe this is not enough to save lives and they want all texting while driving to be illegal.

Distracted Driving Crashes in Texas

Craddick may be right as 476 people were killed in crashes that involved distracted driving in 2015. This was a slight increase from the year before, according to the Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts. Additionally, 4,148 accidents in Austin last year were related to distracted driving, KXAN reported. This is despite the fact that Austin is one of the cities that bans hand-held devices through a local ordinance. In Austin, if you are found using a hand-held device you could be fined up to $500.

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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