Distracted driving includes manual, visual and cognitive distraction. Manual distraction is when a driver takes his or her hands off the wheel. Visual distraction is when a driver takes her or his eyes off the road, and cognitive distraction is when a driver focuses his or her mind on something other than driving. Last year in Texas, around 81,000 crashes involved some form of distracted driving, including cell phone use, and 361 of those accidents were fatal.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens in Texas and across the country are the most at-risk group to drive distracted and account for the greatest number of distracted drivers on the road today. In addition, more than 15 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal car accidents were reported to have been distracted while driving.

Teens also have the highest crash rate of any age group because of their lack of experience. The most dangerous time for teen drivers is when they venture onto the road by themselves for the first time, but the more experience a teen builds the lower the risk of accident. Teens are almost twice as likely to get into a car accident during the first month of driving as they are after two years of driving. Therefore, it is important that teens remained focused on the road while they go through the learning curve of driving. But, sometimes teen drivers may learn bad driving habits from other drivers, like parents.

According to a survey that looked at the habits of parents who supervised their teens while driving, a majority of teen drivers say their parents were distracted at least once by their cellphones as they were teaching them how to drive. Almost 30 percent of the surveyed teen drivers said their parents were distracted by their cellphones while supervising “sometimes, often, or all the time.”

Teens should remember that no matter the habits of their parents, teen drivers in Texas cannot legally operate a cellphone while behind the wheel, talk or text, during the first year of driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident because of suspected distracted driving, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

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