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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Woman uses her smartphone to text while driving

Most drivers know the dangers of distracted driving, but too many do it anyway

Whether it's due to a cellphone, radio, cup of coffee, or passenger, distracted driving is a known driving risk that kills thousands of people every year.

In 2020, more than 3,000 people needlessly died in fatal U.S. distracted driving accidents, according to Over 360 of these fatal car accidents happened in Texas.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which means organizations like EndDD and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have an opportunity to refocus attention on this persistent, lethal problem.

Henderson County crashes

In Texas, almost one in five crashes are caused by a distracted driver, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Even though Henderson County has a comparatively low rate of distracted driving accidents, bad crashes still happen here. When not fatal, distracted driving accidents can result in injuries like broken bones, joint trauma, traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and whiplash.

In Henderson County, the distracted driving crash rate is 2.52 crashes per 1,000 residents. Here are the rates for nearby counties, according to ValuePenguin:

  • Ellis County - 5.98
  • Kaufman County - 4.11
  • Navarro County - 3.83
  • Smith County - 3.53
  • Van Zandt County - 2.74

Known risks

One of the biggest challenges to ending distracted driving accidents is getting people to take the risk seriously. Just about everyone knows that texting and driving is the wrong thing to do, but about one-third do it anyway, according to a AAA study.

When polled, about 84 percent of drivers say that they recognize the danger of cellphone distractions and find things like texting or sending emails while driving "unacceptable."

Still, 36 percent of these same drivers say that they have read or sent texts and emails while driving in the prior month, according to the survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

To raise awareness about the hazards posed by distracted driving, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has a campaign called Talk. Text. Crash. The goal is to remind drivers of the dangers and penalties for distracted driving.

Keep in mind that it is illegal to drive distracted in Texas, and violators may be fined.

How to avoid distracted driving

There are some ways that drivers can reduce the temptation to drive distracted. The NHTSA makes these recommendations:

  • If you are expecting a text or need to send a message, pull over and park your car in a safe location before using your phone.
  • Designate a passenger as the "texter" who handles incoming and outgoing messages while you drive.
  • Activate your phone's "do not disturb" feature or put your phone in the trunk so you are not tempted to answer it.
  • Set a good example to reduce the risk of loved ones driving distracted. After all, teens who have parents who drive distracted are two to four times as likely to also drive distracted.
  • If you see someone texting and driving, speak up. Staying silent normalizes dangerous behavior.

Recovering compensation after an accident

If you were injured in a Henderson County car accident that was not your fault, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. The problem is insurance companies have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to avoid paying crash victims what they're entitled to. That's why once you've received medical attention to diagnose and document your injuries, your next step should be talking to a car accident lawyer to go over your legal rights and options.

Weinstein Law is an Athens-based law firm that knows how to successfully handle injury claims. Attorney Jeff Weinstein has years of experience investigating Texas car accidents. He knows how to find the facts that matter and build strong cases that get results.

If you want straight talk and honest answers about your potential legal case, contact us today for a free consultation. We'll provide you with all the information you need so you can decide what you want to do next.

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