A summit organized by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller will focus on the issue of distracted driving and potential technological solutions for this endemic problem. According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,300 people were killed and over 420,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted driving in 2012. Texas law currently places no restrictions on the use of cell phones to talk while driving and limits texting only for newer drivers and for school bus drivers. This lack of legislation regarding the serious issue of distracted drivers on streets and highways has left Houston drivers vulnerable and has led to civil lawsuits in the Texas court system. Holding Distracted Drivers Accountable For many victims of distracted driving, pursuing a case in court can provide a greater sense of closure for the accident. It can also allow accident victims and their families to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions and can provide valuable financial support for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other costs associated with the incident. A qualified Houston personal injury attorney can provide support throughout the legal process and can ensure the most positive outcome for the case. By enlisting the help of a Houston car accident lawyer to handle their legal proceedings, the injured parties and their families can ensure proper compensation for their losses. Attorneys specializing in Houston wrongful death cases can often achieve sizable financial settlements to provide much-needed stability for those left behind. An Ounce of Prevention The summit organized by Senator Rockefeller will look into new technological strategies to reduce the distractions represented by cell phones and texting applications. A number of mobile applications have already been developed to help prevent distracted driving due to cell phone conversations and texting activities:
- Some cell phone customers can take advantage of the DriveSmart Plus app from T-Mobile, which silences calls and text notifications when it detects that the user is currently driving. Calls are sent to voice mail, and texts receive an automatic response that lets the sender know that the driver is unable to respond at the present time.
- The TXTL8R application is available free of charge to drivers aged 17 and under in the state of Iowa. The app functions in a similar way to DriveSmart Plus and prevents texting and cell phone calls while in use.
- An application available for both Android and Apple smartphones, CellControl consists of two separate components. The application itself resides on the user’s cell phone, and a device is also placed under the steering column to register when the user is driving. This system is ideal for teen drivers and resists most efforts to defeat its protections.
The summit will explore these and other ways to prevent distractions while driving and to create a safer environment on the road. Working for Stricter Laws In 2012, more than 90,000 accidents in Texas were attributed to distracted driving. Houston drivers alone accounted for 4,662 of these accidents, one of which resulted in a death. Texas is one of just nine states in the U.S. that has not yet banned texting and driving for all motor vehicle operators. By working for more restrictive legislation regarding distractions while driving, Houston residents can make a positive difference in improving traffic safety throughout the state. Taking legal action to hold drivers accountable for texting, chatting or other distracting activities behind the wheel can ensure adequate financial resources for accident victims coping with extensive medical bills and lost time at work. The funds received from legal settlements can provide a measure of financial stability for families who have lost a loved one to a distracted driving incident and can help them to pick up the pieces and go on with their lives.