Dynamics of Distracted Driving

With April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, it’s a good time to put safety back in the driver’s seat and reassess our responsibilities when sharing the road.

Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, could cost a life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that sending or reading a text at 60 miles per hour is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. A significant number of drivers on North Texas highways regularly engage in non-driving-related tasks. While we often associate distracted driving with using your cell phone, it can be anything from eating and switching playlists to bickering children or rowdy pets. 

According to the NHTSA, 3,522 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2021 and 3,308 in 2022. “It’s tragic to think of how many final moments are preceded by the thought, ‘I’ll just send a quick text.’ It all too often leads to a devastating car accident. Whatever it is you need to send can wait until you reach your destination,” Brad says. 

While talking on the phone puts a strain on attention by taking your mind off the road, texting fully switches a driver’s attention by taking the mind and eyes off the road. Even though texting is worse than chatting while driving, it is not by much. Many studies have found that hands-free phone calls are just as distracting as having conversations with another passenger in the car. Minimizing the number of incoming messages and calls can reduce the distraction of having a phone in the car. This can easily be done by enabling a phone’s “do not disturb” feature. 

With all the advancements in-car technology, a new version of distracted driving has come about called “automation complacency.” This happens when automated vehicles or cars with several safety features cause drivers to over-rely on the car to prevent crashes. Forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warnings are causing drivers to become dangerously complacent about their responsibilities behind the wheel. According to the National Safety Council, a study discovered that using features like lane-keeping assistance resulted in a 50% increase in engaging in secondary tasks. 

On so many occasions, when someone texts and drives, they are lucky and escape an accident. The brain responds to that feedback and makes people think that they are capable of safely using their cell phones while driving. This can be a deadly mistake. When the stakes include fatality and the benefit of texting is so minimal, distracted driving is just plain foolish and irresponsible.

Types of Distracted Driving


Visually distracted driving refers to anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. An example of this is turning to look at a passenger while having a conversation.


We tend to forget the importance of listening when driving. Auditory distractions can cause drivers to miss the sirens of emergency vehicles, warning honks from other cars, or rumble strips alerting that we have veered into the shoulder. Auditory distractions include listening to something with earbuds while driving.


Manual distractions are any activities that take the driver’s hands off the wheel. For instance, when a driver is holding food or a beverage, he or she is manually distracted. 


Cognitive or mental distractions take the driver’s mind off the task at hand. Dwelling on an intense conversation while behind the wheel might constitute as cognitively distracted driving.

Texas Laws Deterring Distracted Driving

Sending electronic messages while driving became illegal in Texas in 2017. This law only applies to texting or sending emails while in a moving vehicle, which means that a driver can still text in their cars, but only if it is at a complete stop. If you break the law, it will cost you $99 for your first offense. Any repeat offenses cost $200. If there is an accident that happens because of your texting, you could be jailed for up to one year and receive a fine of up to $4,000. Additional cellphone laws to remember include:

  • Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using cell phones in the first six months of driving.
  • Using any handheld device in your vehicle in a school zone is illegal.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices in any way.
  • School bus drivers may not use cell phones at all while driving if children are present.

Proving Negligence in Distracted Driving Cases

In distracted driving cases, you must prove that the other driver was acting negligently. Some types of information can be obtained at the time of the accident, but others can be gathered after the fact. Our attorneys will gather evidence to prove negligence in distracted driving cases, such as:

Eye-Witness Testimony

If there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, such as other car drivers or bystanders, it is pivotal that they state the police. You should also collect their contact details. If your claim goes to court, eyewitness testimony can be crucial evidence.

Traffic Camera Footage

In some cases, you can rely on traffic camera footage to show a distracted driver’s actions. However, you will need to arrange to get any traffic camera footage as soon as you can after an accident, as traffic camera recordings are typically deleted after a few days or weeks.


If you took any photographs at the scene of the accident, especially of any damage to the vehicles, keep them safe as evidence. Photographs can provide excellent evidence in a distracted driving accident case.

Police Reports

A police report can be important evidence in any accident. It is also an opportunity for you to explain to an officer how the accident happened so they can document everything you saw.

Phone Records

If a driver used their phone at the time of an accident, phone records can provide powerful evidence.

Steps to Avoid Distraction

The Texas Department of Transportation offers eight tips for preventing distractions while driving.

Turn Off Temptation 

Do not text or talk on your phone while driving. Turn off your cell phone until you reach your destination. Research from the National Safety Council shows that hands-free phones are as much of a distraction as handheld phones. Place your device out of sight in the glove box or the console. 

Stop to Call or Text 

If you can’t wait to make a call or text, pull to a safe place. Many Texas cities have strict laws that prevent all handheld cell phone use while on the road. While traveling, cell phones should only be used for emergency purposes. 

Have a Plan 

Don’t wait until you are driving to plan your route. Use navigation devices with voice directions and set your destination before leaving. GPS and navigation systems can be as distracting as cell phones. 

Pull Off the Road When Drowsy 

Drowsiness increases the risk of a crash by nearly four times. A study by the AAA Traffic Safety Foundation found that 37% of drivers report falling asleep behind the wheel. 

Limit the Number of Passengers in Your Vehicle 

Suspend conversations when approaching locations with heavy traffic, road construction, or severe weather conditions. 

Avoid Eating, Drinking, and Smoking While Driving 

Eating and drinking while driving may seem like a time-saver, but it makes you less attentive to drivers around you. Dropping a cigarette or spilling food or a drink are major causes of distracted driving. 

Keep Your Eyes Moving 

Make a full-mirror sweep with your eyes every five minutes to ward off a wandering mind. If possible, vary your route so mundane trips like commuting to and from work don’t become tedious. 

Keep a Safe Distance 

Driving instructors suggest a following distance of three-to-four seconds in good weather. This gives you more time to react to any risk to you and your passengers.

Contact the Car Accident Law Firm of Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers in Fort Worth for Help Today

For more information, please contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation today. We have convenient locations in Bedford and Fort Worth, Texas.

Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers – Bedford
2317 Plaza Pkwy #100,
Bedford, TX 76021

(817) 503-9200

Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers – Fort Worth
209 N Hampton St,
Fort Worth, TX 76102

(817) 839-3143