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Laredo Texas

Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Tips to Stay Focused on the Road

Young man driving a car, talking on mobile phone.

Preventing distracted driving accidents is complicated

For everyone's safety, drivers should keep their attention focused on the road when operating motor vehicles. However, getting drivers to put down their phones and avoid other distractions behind the wheel has proven complicated.

Despite massive efforts, more and more distracted driving accidents happen nationwide each year. In Texas last year, nearly one in six crashes were caused by a distracted driver. This includes 399 fatalities and 2,793 serious injuries, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

At John R. Solis, Attorney at Law, we witness the devastating effects of distracted driving firsthand as we assist injured victims in their fight for compensation and justice. In support of April Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we're sharing information about Texas traffic laws and tips to reduce the risk of distractions and accidents.

Texas distracted driving laws

All distractions – texting, eating, grooming, or conversing – can be dangerous. Every driver and every passenger, regardless of age, can be impacted by distracted driving. Like most states with anti-distracted driving laws, Texas legislation targets one of the biggest distractions - cell phones. Texas has implemented several laws to reduce distracted driving and improve road safety. Here's an explanation of Texas distracted driving laws as explained by the Laredo Police Department:

  • Texting and driving is illegal everywhere in Texas.
  • Using any handheld device in your vehicle in a school zone is illegal and can result in a citation with a hefty fine.
  • You may NOT use a cell phone even at a red light.
  • Pull off the road entirely and come to a complete stop before you talk or text.
  • NEVER use your cell phone while driving; not only is it dangerous, but you’re putting others at risk.

Although there is no statewide ban on all drivers using handheld devices (outside of texting), many cities, such as Laredo and Austin, have stricter regulations. Following traffic laws and regulations is the responsibility of all drivers. Here's how to stay compliant with anti-distracting laws in Texas.

Tips to help drivers maintain focus and avoid distraction

Regardless of whether a driver is using voice-to-text, hands-free, or handheld devices, research indicates that distractions can significantly impact the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Driver inattention can lead to slower reaction times, impaired decision-making, and decreased awareness of nearby vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles. This impairment increases the likelihood of accidents and collisions on the road. The Texas Department of Insurance offers these tips to prevent distracted driving:

  • Understand the risks. Texting or emailing while driving is against Texas law, and using your phone, eating, or chatting while driving can lead to trouble.
  • Turn off your phone. To stay focused, switch off your phone while driving or use technology that blocks calls and texts to help you resist the temptation. Consider stashing your phone away, turning it off, or utilizing apps or settings to block calls and texts while driving.
  • Stay calm. Keep your cool when faced with stressful traffic or aggressive drivers. Don't get distracted by strong emotions. It’s safer and smarter not to engage.
  • Get ready before you go. Set up your GPS and playlists before you hit the road. Make sure your car is tidy, and all items are secured. Inform your friends, family, and colleagues that you're unavailable to respond to calls or texts while on the road.
  • Watch for distracted drivers. Look for drivers who aren’t staying in their lane or keep changing speed. If someone seems unsafe, they may be driving distracted or impaired. Stay back and report it when you can do so safely.

If a driver must answer the phone or send a text, they should do it safely. Always prioritize giving full attention to driving. Pull over completely and come to a stop.

Hold distracted drivers accountable

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident caused by a distracted driver in Texas can be daunting, especially with insurance companies urging quick settlements and possible blame from the other driver. Consulting with an experienced car accident attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Our legal team is dedicated to fighting for the justice and compensation you deserve. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a Laredo-area car accident, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.

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