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Jefferson County Lawsuit Renews Texas Texting While Driving Debate

In spite of the fact that recent studies performed by researchers at Texas A & M University proving that both composing and reading texts while behind the wheel more than doubles the reaction time of the driver – it has a greater impact on reaction times than being legally intoxicated – Texans continue to text and drive. Unfortunately, for Jefferson County resident Raymond Morris, he has suffered numerous physical and mental injuries because of the alleged distracted driving of a fellow resident.

The female driver who ran a stop sign and struck Morris’ vehicle back in November of 2009 was reportedly texting on her mobile phone at the time. It is alleged that she caused Mr. Morris’ injuries when she failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign, failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to stop or yield to avoid a collision and failed to timely apply her brakes.

Sadly, Mr. Morris’ case is by no means a unique one. Data provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that distracted driving is responsible for nearly 20 percent of annual traffic fatalities – about 5,500 people – nationwide. Texting in particular is seen as a particularly invasive distraction, receiving more attention than traditional distractions like eating, drinking, grooming or intense conversation. This is likely both the result of our more technologically driven society (mobile phones are more of a distraction than ever before simply because they are more prevalent) and the fact that studies like the recent Texas A & M one prove just how truly consumed one can become by the reading or sending of a text message, and how devastating that distraction can be at highway speeds.

In spite of ample evidence showing just how dangerous it is to drive while distracted, Texas Governor Rick Perry again vetoed a bill to make texting behind the wheel illegal, saying that he felt the proffered legislation was too invasive and “micromanaged” the private behaviors of adult Texans who are capable of making their own decisions if properly educated about the dangers involved.

Texting-related accidents will continue to happen so long as people prioritize communication above concentration. Transportation safety experts conjecture that distracted driving accidents will rise in spite of new laws prohibiting the behavior and public safety awareness programs to outline the dangers involved. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Houston distracted driving accident, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.