A local newspaper has recently published an exhaustive report on the problem of distracted driving in the Houston metropolitan area. The report highlights the serious ways that phone use behind the wheel have harmed Houston area residents, and how law enforcement has done little to address the issue, despite the potential for lethal harm. Learn more about this serious problem below, and contact a Houston auto collision and car accident lawyer if you’ve been hurt in a crash caused by a distracted driver.
Houston’s dangerous distracted driving rates
The Houston Chronicle recently published a report covering the problem of distracted driving in Harris and surrounding counties. The issue is one that deserves serious attention. According to the results of a survey conducted by Zendrive, the makers of an app that monitors drivers’ phone use for shipping and trucking companies, Houston has more distracted drivers than any other city that was measured in the recent survey, with one in 12 Houston drivers found to be using their phone. Houston’s rate of driver distraction is on the rise, as well; last year, one in 20 Houston drivers were found to be looking at their phones by the app. Based on this and other information, the Houston Chronicle has determined that the Houston metro area is the deadliest in the country for roadway occupants, including drivers, passengers, and cyclists.
As phone use by drivers grows, the rate of distracted driving crashes grows with it. By analyzing crash records, the Houston Chronicle was able to determine that distracted driving was cited as the likely cause of roughly 8,211 fatal or injury accidents in 2016. This is a major increase from the 5,796 believed to be hurt or killed in distraction-related crashes in 2011.
Law enforcement rarely takes action when noticing drivers texting behind the wheel
While more and more drivers are getting hurt in distraction-related crashes, local law enforcement are doing little to intervene. Texas was one of the last states in the country to create a ban on texting. Since this law went into effect in September 2017, members of state law enforcement have seemed reluctant to enforce it. The Houston Chronicle determined that, for example, the Chambers County sheriff’s department had issued no tickets for texting while driving since the law entered into force. Galveston County’s sheriff’s department issued one ticket since the law entered into effect. Houston’s police department was one of the most active in issuing text-related citations, having issued 1,630 such tickets. Stopping distracted drivers in their tracks, rather than waiting until a crash happened to take on the difficult task of proving that the at-fault driver was on their phone in a trial for damages, provides a far better approach by preventing violent crashes before they occur.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver in southeast Texas, get help recovering the damages you’re owed by contacting the professional and seasoned Houston personal injury attorney Charles J. Argento for a free consultation at 713-225-5050.