Texting and driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In 2020 alone, more than 3,000 people were killed by distracted drivers who were using their cell phones, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Hands-free technology has encouraged many drivers to put down their cell phones. Despite this progress, a recent study found that talking on the phone, even while using hands-free technology, could still lead to an accident.
If you were injured by a distracted driver using a hands-free device, call our Fort Worth-based car accident lawyers today for a free consultation. This is a good opportunity to discuss your situation, including whether you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Understanding Texas Hands-Free Driving Laws
Texting and driving is illegal throughout the state of Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), drivers cannot:
- Send or receive electronic messages while driving
- Use a cellphone while driving within six months of getting a learning permit
- Use a handheld device while in a school zone
- Use a handheld device if they are under the age of 18
TxDOT also recommends that drivers refrain from using cell phones while driving. Even if you are talking on the phone using a hands-free device. The department encourages drivers to pull off the side of the road and come to a complete stop if he or she must use a phone.
What is Hands-Free Technology?
Hands-free technology generally refers to things like Bluetooth that allow a person to use a cellphone without holding it in his or her hands.
Hands-free technology can also include things like voice command systems that come standard in many modern vehicles.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistants like Siri and Alexa also provide hands-free technology. A phone mount that allows a driver to view a GPS without holding a cell phone can also be considered hands-free technology.
Can Talking on a Hands-Free Device Still Be Considered Distracted Driving?
Studies have shown a direct correlation between decreased traffic fatalities and state laws implementing the mandatory use of hands-free technology. However, hands-free technology has not eradicated distracted driving crashes. This is because using a cellphone, even while on Bluetooth, can mentally distract any driver.
A driver who is having a phone conversation, even a short one, is not likely to be paying full attention to his or her surroundings. No matter how good a “multitasker” someone may be, a person cannot give 100 percent of his or her attention to more than one thing at a time. At home, this may be acceptable, but on the road, when it could impact the safety of other people, it is not okay.
Drivers who cause a crash while being distracted by a phone conversation, even while using a hands-free device, could be held liable for your damages.
How Can a Lawyer Prove Distracted Driving With a Hands-Free Device?
Distracted driving can usually be proven by eyewitnesses who observed a driver swerving or doing something like texting. Accident reconstruction can also serve as evidence in a distracted driving case.
If the driver was distracted because he or she was using hands-free technology to talk on the phone, your attorney may also be able to get concrete evidence to prove the distraction. For instance, your attorney can request copies of the driver’s cellphone records. This evidence could help to show whether the driver was using his or her cell phone when the accident occurred.
It is important to keep in mind that to access this information you will likely need to file a lawsuit. This is why it is crucial to have an attorney on your side who is ready to help.
Call an Experienced Lawyer Today
At Anderson & Cummings, our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience negotiating with insurance companies and building strong cases for compensation.
We have recovered millions on behalf of our clients by negotiating settlements and, when necessary, taking claims to court.
Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your claim with a member of our experienced legal team to learn more about your legal options.
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