Anyone with a cellphone probably feels tempted to check their device when they hear a ringtone or text notification, but the Amarillo Police Department is warning motorists to think before doing so. In fact, the APD is cracking down on distracted driving violations by raising awareness of its dangers and issuing tickets to those in violation.
If you’ve received a citation or were involved in an accident that resulted from this type of negligence, you should consult an attorney. It’s also helpful to get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about distracted driving laws.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Put simply, distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the road while operating a motor vehicle. While the emphasis has largely been on cellphone and other electronic device use in recent years, there are many other things that qualify as distracted driving. Here’s the short list of activities that might get you into trouble.
Eating or drinking
Talking on the phone, including in hands-free mode
Consulting a map
Using a GPS
Playing with the radio
In requesting funds from the federal government to back the improved distracted driving initiative, the APD stated that 76 tickets were issued to violators from October 2012 through September 2013. Officers stress that they intend to increase these citations five-fold with the grant money.
Are There Statistics To Support Fines For Distracted Driving?
The APD crunched other numbers in applying for federal funds to deter distracted driving. For instance, there were just under 95,000 traffic collisions in the State of Texas during 2013 that were related to distracted drivers at the wheel. Of those, over 18,000 involved serious injuries to motorists or their passengers. Sadly, there were 459 fatalities. To date, statistics on vehicle accidents reveal that distracted driving is at fault in one out of five collisions.
Based on these distracted driving figures, you can see why APD is stepping up its efforts to stop it. However, wanting to avoid a ticket is just one reason to put the cellphone away: You could also seriously hurt or kill someone as a result.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured In A Distracted Driving Accident?
Any personal injury case is serious, and getting hurt due to someone else’s distracted driving is no different. Not only are these motorists negligent, but they’re also breaking the law. It’s important to seek legal advice right away to protect your rights and ensure you recover compensation for your injuries. If you’ve sustained injuries in a distracted driving-related case, please contact the law offices of Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.