Distracted driving is a serious concern in Texas, and around the nation. To that end, many states have enacted laws that limit or outright ban the use of cell phones while operating a vehicle. The National Safety Council recently released an infographic explaining why this approach is so often taken.
Titled The Great Multitasking Lie, the NSC infographic addresses five common myths about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. First, they note that while some believe they can multitask well, the available data shows that the brain is never doing two things at once. Talking on the phone and driving both require focus, so the brain must switch between them, causing a distraction.
The NSC notes that conversations on the phone are more dangerous than conversations within the vehicle, as adult passengers can assist the driver in recognizing changing road conditions. Even using hands-free technology while driving can limit the response of drivers by causing them to miss seeing half of what is going on around them.
Sending a message can cause a continued distraction for about 27 seconds after the message is sent, which is plenty of time for something to happen—even while sitting at a red light. Finally, voice-to-text systems occupy the mind enough to be a distraction on their own, while frequent autocorrect errors mean that we are also turning attention to proofreading our messages before sending them.
There is a great deal of attention given to distracted driving on the NSC website. In response to this growing body of data, here in Texas, we operate under a 2017 ban on using wireless communication devices. Statewide, this law is limited to sending electronic messages for most drivers, but grows stricter for drivers under 18, school bus drivers in the presence of children, and anyone passing through a school zone.
Our San Antonio office is also subject to that city’s local ordinance which restricts very nearly all uses of mobile phones while driving. As of this writing, roughly ninety local ordinances across the state look something like San Antonio’s, and it may only be a matter of time before this reaches the state level.
Regardless of your local ordinances on the matter, the safest way to drive is always to put the phone away. Failure to do so is to choose one’s own convenience over the safety of everyone on the road. When disaster strikes due to this decision, the distracted driver must be held accountable for the suffering they cause.
If you have been the victim of distracted driving, contact us today to begin seeking the justice you deserve.