How Can We Make Our Highways Safer?

Easy — stop distracted driving. More specifically, stop texting while driving.

I know, good luck with that, right? It seems like every other person around you as you drive is looking down at his or her seat texting away.

This alarming epidemic is out of control.

Maybe you’re the victim of a crash caused by a driver who was texting while driving.  Statistics are on your side.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distraction was a primary factor in 3,129 traffic fatalities in 2014, the most recent year in which statistics have been analyzed. And a recent study showed that people were distracted more than 50% of the time — and texting, reaching for a cell phone, browsing the Internet and reading email, and dialing numbers caused 70% of serious crashes.

We personal injury lawyers are far too busy representing injured people who were the victims of these careless drivers.

The next time someone is driving while sending a text message, he should remember  “the last emoji,” a poignant reminder of the dangers of texting and driving. It’s a huge sculpture in Miami made out of car parts the artist found in a junk yard twisted into a winking, demented face.  OMG.

We need to outlaw this dangerous practice in Texas.  After all, we are one of only four states that hasn’t done this already. Most people obey the law and are wary of getting an expensive ticket.  Almost everyone knows to fasten his seat belt or not speed through a school zone. The fear of getting a ticket would cause many people to quit.

And we would already have this law, which has passed the Texas House of Representatives during several legislative sessions and passed the state Senate in 2015. but our governors have said they would veto it. There is no reason for this.

Now 40 Texas cities have had to pass individual anti-texting laws. So you can get a ticket driving from Euless into Bedford (which outlaws TWD).  Our state officials already make this illegal in school zones and teens are not allowed to text and drive at all — not that that stops them.

One-third of drivers admit to texting while driving, with men and younger drivers doing this routinely.

 Since founding Berenson Injury Law in 1982, I have witnessed the dramatic increase in distracted driving deaths and injuries. Of course, no one had a cell phone back then — and we all got along fine. Now texting and driving are not only common but cool. We need to raise public awareness of this pernicious problem. Here’s a grim attempt by a funeral home operator in Canada. No LOL necessary.

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