The dangers of distracted driving became all too real for the mother of two teens who were killed when the driver of a car lost control while checking her GPS.
The two sisters, 19-year-old Brianna and 17-year-old Jade were passengers in a car on their way home from spring break in March of 2016 when the driver of the car became distracted by the GPS. They were forcefully rear ended by a big-rig. The sisters, along with their friend Brittanie, died as a result of the crash. The driver of the car was critically injured, but survived.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, in 2016 one in five accidents were caused by distracted driving in Texas and caused nearly 500 hundred deaths that year.
The mother of the sisters, Stacy R., wrote in an article for The Monitor that “his was the first trip my girls had taken together without me. In the days after the crash, I kept waiting for the door to open and for them to come rushing in to tell me all about the trip, even though I knew they were gone.”
Families who have lost loved ones to distracted driving in Texas are joining together to share their stories as a part of the state’s Transportation Department’s “Talk, Text, Crash” program. They, along with a remembrance wall of victims of distracted driving, will travel the state to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving in Texas..
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, distracted driving is more than just texting and driving. The agency says distracted driving in Texas includes perusing social media or streaming music stations as well as paying attention to GPS rather than the road. Anything that can lead drivers to be distracted reduces reaction times, potentially leading to devastating consequences.
Tragically, drivers under the age of 20 have the highest rates of distracted driving in Texas and account for 11 percent of all fatal crashes according to the Department of Public Safety.
Stacy writes, “While you’re thinking, ‘What if I miss an important text or call?’ the rest of us are wondering, ‘What if…?’
What if our loved one had pulled over to the side of the road before taking that call?
What if the driver of the car who hit and killed our family member had waited to respond to that text?
What if the driver had asked someone else in the car to navigate using the phone’s GPS?”
In addition to raising awareness of the terrible consequences of distracted driving, Texas, and other states, have passed laws prohibiting phone use while driving and banning other distracted driving dangers..
Under distracted driving laws in Texas that went into effect earlier this year, a misdemeanor can be charged against a driver if they are found using a device while operating a moving vehicle. Further, drivers can be issued steep fines of up to $200.
Drivers who do not want to be a part of the distracted driving problem in Texas can do so by avoiding the following distractions while driving:
- Posting to social media
- Checking email
- Programming a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
The Texas Department of Public Safety also stress that parents must address distracted driving dangers with their teens. The mother of Jade and Brianna writes, “As a mother who knows the heartache of losing her babies to distracted driving, I hope you will remember my story whenever you get behind the wheel. Pay attention when you’re driving. Put your cellphone and other distractions away and focus on the road.”
“Too many people are killed or injured every year by distracted driving. Please don’t take chances with your life or someone else’s.”
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys at McDonald Worley. The experienced legal team offers a free case evaluation.