Deadly Teen Combo: Texting while Driving Killing More teenagers than DUI

Dangerous Behavior

texting-drivingTexting while driving now kills more teenagers than driving while intoxicated. Over 10,000 teens died in 2017 while they tried to send a text message when they were behind the wheel of a car. Approximately 2,700 teenagers died as the result of driving while intoxicated.

The Centers for Disease Control recently conducted a study, in which almost half of teenagers admitted to texting while driving.

Teens who admitted to sending and receiving text messages while behind the wheel also reported engaging in other risky behaviors as well. This includes driving under the influence of alcohol. Teenagers who texted while driving were five times more likely than others to drive after drinking. Young people engaging in the risky behavior were also found to be more likely to not wear seat belts.

In 2015, at least 53 percent of automobile accidents involved cell phones, totaling 1.3 million auto accidents over the course of a single year.

Teenagers are often more attached to smartphones than older adults, and process risk differently.

Text messaging while driving makes an accident 23 times more likely, according, a private group dedicated to ending texting and driving.

According to the group, teen drivers are out of their lane for ten percent of the time they are sending or receiving text messages. One in five admits to the risky behavior.

Study of the effects of texting on teen driving deaths was published in the journal Pediatrics.

I Was Hit By Someone Texting and Driving

shutterstock_1245274481-300x200In order to begin to comprehend the issues surrounding distracted driving, it’s important to get a view of the bigger picture. Consider this about texting and driving:

In 2011, 23 percent of all car accidents reported were attributed to the driver using a cell phone in some capacity – talking, texting and driving, browsing, and even playing games – this number has increased to 54 percent in 2017.

Last year, 3,500 people died in car accidents that are attributable to distracted drivers, including texting and driving. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the use of cell phones, but encompasses all driver distractions.

When it comes to the younger driving demographic, 21 percent of the accident fatalities were directly attributable to the use of cell phones. Texting while driving, either sending or reading while operating a motor vehicle, makes the chance of you having an accident 23 times more likely.

So, why is texting such a catalyst for accidents? One study cited texting as one of the worst distractions that drivers can experience behind the wheel. The average driver will take their eyes off the road for a full 4.6 seconds and travel the length of one whole football field blind to send one text message.

That’ s terrifying, and the message has been made loud and clear: texting and driving is deadly.

One study published in the journal Human Factors has indicated texting and driving is actually more dangerous that talking on a cell phone or to a physical passenger in the vehicle. The study actually tested subjects using a driving simulator and found individuals texting were involved in more crashes because they responded very slowly to the appearance of brake lights in front of them and showed significant impairment in control.

Researchers were also able to determine that it was more than just drivers taking their eyes off the road that contributed to these accidents. There is evidence that attention patterns differ for drivers texting and driving over those who talk on their cell phones or converse with passengers in their cars. For those talking on cell phones, researchers say that the drivers make an attempt to divide their attention equally between the conversation at hand and driving, making adjusting in the priority of each task as they demand it. But in texting, the attention divide is different. During texting, drivers must divert 100 percent of their attention to the phone and then divert it 100 percent back to driving. Because there is several seconds in time when drivers are focused on the process of reading or typing a text, their reactions times are significantly slower. Additionally, the study revealed that reading rather than composing produced the most significant reduction in reaction time.

One possible explanation that has been offered to explain this phenomenon is that drivers that text are 100 percent distracted from driving duties for up to 4.6 seconds at a time. During this time, drivers often decrease their following distance, which, when coupled with a slower reaction time to visual stimulus such as brake lights, often results in catastrophe.

So what does this mean?

It means while everyone knows texting and driving is a hazardous combination, we are actually able to focus on the science behind why. Governments across the country are taking heed of the ever increasing accident rate and are taking action to attempt to slow down the trend and begin to reverse it by banning texting while driving. One such state is Texas.

While the Texas state legislature has failed to pass a unilateral ban on texting while driving, many cities within the state have passed their own versions of a ban.

The next time your cell phone beeps with a text message while you are on your way to your destination, think twice before you pick up the phone to read or respond. If you can’t ignore the message, pull over and respond and keep the roads safer for everyone.

If the other driver was texting during a car accident, the Law Firm of Reyes Browne Reilley can hold them responsible. Call us today at 214-526-7900 or submit the short Free Consultation form below and one of our attorneys will contact you for a free and confidential case review.

Drowsy Driving: The Hidden Costs of Driving While Fatigued

bigstock-214125700-300x200Everyone knows the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol, but many people aren’t aware of risks of drowsy driving. Considering that nearly 328,000 car accidents can be linked to drowsy driving each year, it’s time to take a closer look at this growing problem and take action.

The Sleep-Deprived Brain

When the heavy blinks and frequent yawns start, most people push through the fatigue in favor of getting to their destination on time. As you begin to understand what happens to your brain when you’re tired, you might reconsider.

Sleep is a necessary biological function that the body cannot do without. The brain reacts by slowing down the messages it sends. Individual neurons that send the message to interpret information and cause the body to react and move in response slow down in an attempt to bring the body to a resting state.

When driving, these effects of this sleep deprivation may look like:

  • Drifting in and out of the traffic lane

  • Missing turns or exits

  • Forgetting the last few miles driven (due to short-term memory loss)

  • Mood swings, including increased aggression

  • Slow reaction times

  • Lack of reasoning skills

Sleep deprivation removes the ability to make the split-second decisions needed to prevent accidents. The brain tries to keep up, but without enough sleep, it falls behind enough to open the door to potential accidents.

Costs That Are Too High

The effects of drowsy driving cannot be ignored considering the serious nature of the kinds of injuries sustained during car accidents. Car accidents easily strain the ligaments and muscles in the neck and back.The force of the accident is often absorbed by the spine causing injuries like whiplash, herniated disks, and compression fractures. Even low-speed accidents can cause life-altering injuries.

Accidents and injuries bring an incredible $109 billion in societal costs. When you take into account the medical and insurance bills, first responder expenses, wages lost over the lifetime of the injured, and potential loss of life, the costs are simply too high.

Making a Change

Many drowsy driving accidents could be avoided by taking action while driving and getting better sleep. If you find yourself nodding off on the road:

  • Pull over in a safe area like a parking lot or rest area and take a short 15-30 minute nap.

  • Turn on upbeat music to wake your senses.

  • Start chewing gum. The combination of your jaw muscles moving and the flavors of the gum can give you an awakening jolt.

  • Switch drivers and take a nap in the passenger seat.

You can prevent drowsy driving before it starts by getting a full seven to eight hours of sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep:

  • Check Your Mattress: A lumpy mattress or one that’s too hard or soft can keep you tossing and turning through the night.

  • Develop a Bedtime Routine: A warm bath, reading a book, or gentle meditation can help your brain shut down for the day by helping establish healthy circadian rhythms.

  • Cutback on Screen Time: The light from televisions, e-readers, and smartphones can be enough to send your brain the ‘awake’ signal. Try to shut things down an hour before bedtime to allow your brain to adjust.

  • Eat Right: Avoid stimulants like caffeine for at least four hours before bed. Add sleep-inducing foods to your diet like fish, chickpeas, and bananas which promote the making of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident due to someone driving while drowsy, contact the DFW car wreck attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley for a free case review today!

Stay Safe This Holiday Season; Do Not Drink and Drive

Dangerous Behavior

The holiday season can be a very joyous time of the year. Family members and friends routinely use this time to eat, drink, and fellowship.

Unfortunately, with it comes the potential to celebrate a little too much.

If you, or someone you know, is in a situation where they have been drinking and need a ride home there are a number of options available. It should be top priority to avoid getting behind the wheel after you have been drinking. This could result in some serious consequences.

Here are some better options:

Designated Driver

Having a Designated Driver is committing a sober wingman to get you to and from a destination without driving. If you like to drink, you should always keep this option open. The job of the designated driver is to remain sober. This individual can drive you home in your own car, with another vehicle following to pick them up after they drop you off.

Taxi/Ride-Sharing Services

Taxis and riding services like Uber and Lyft are also excellent ways to prevent a person from driving drunk. Taxi services will pick you up for a fee and drop you off at your home. The same goes for Uber and Lyft. If you find yourself using this option after driving to your party location and drinking, be sure to remember where you parked the next day.

Public Transportation

For a small fee, public buses or the DART will also get you to and from your destination. Some cities waive transportation fees for big holidays, such as New Year’s Eve. Although this guarantees your driver will be sober, it is important to remember the safety hazards and dangers of being too intoxicated in public. Always remember to drink responsibly, to ensure your safety, and the safety of others.

Hire a Driver

Designated driving services have become quite popular over the last couple of years. It works just like having a designated driver. A number of cities across the U.S. dispatch individuals to the intoxicated person’s destination. One person drives the person’s car home, while another vehicle trails the driver. These services usually spike during the holiday season.

Holiday Driving Services

AAA also offers safe driver services. This is a non-profit service that usually offers services in the entire metropolitan area of a city. This type of service is generally available during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many people opt to get memberships. Once you have this membership, you can use the service as often as you like.

Holidays are a great time of the year to spend with friends and family. To be completely safe, you should never get behind the wheel, even after one drink. Keep in mind the alternatives are a DUI, jail time, or worse. Before your head out to enjoy your loved ones, have a plan on safely getting home.

British Solomon is a contributing writer and media specialist for Caliber Collisions. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and travel blogs.

A Chilling Photo Taken After a Wreck Reminds us Why We Buckle Up Our Kids

A Pennsylvania mother shook by a car crash that could have taken her boys lives on Monday is telling parents: Buckle up your kids. Every time.

A photo Jenna Casado Rabberman shared on Facebook shows a mangled 2015 Honda CRV with seemingly pristine carseats sitting outside. Those carseats, Chicco and Graco models, protected Rabberman’s 6-week-old and 3-year-old, she said.

“This is why you buckle your kids into their car seats correctly every single time,” Rabberman said in a Facebook post. “Even when they scream because the straps are tight. Even when they complain about the chest clip or being rear facing.”

Rabberman said on her way home from preschool with her sons, another vehicle ran a red light, slamming into her car.

“My boys escaped without a scratch but the paramedics told me it could have been very different had I not taken the extra 2 minutes to be sure they were buckled correctly,” she said.

Rabberman said she will be replacing the car seats, per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations.

Thank you to the original author, Ashley May. Follow on twitter @AshleyMayTweets.

Higher Speed Limits Can Cause More Crashes

85 mph sign Reyes Browne ReilleySince the removal of the national maximum speed limit in 1995, most states have slowly increased speed limits across the country. Areas once restricted to 55 miles per hour now allow speeds up to 85 miles per hour. This large increase escalates the number and severity of crashes throughout the United States. Approximately 28 percent of crash fatalities in 2014 resulted from high-speed collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high speeds affect the number of crashes in three ways.

Less Reaction Time

As speed increases, a driver has less and less time to react to a hazard in the roadway. The human brain needs time to process the information before the person knows how to react. Though it may only take a few seconds to realize you must break or swerve, if you’re driving too fast you may not have time to react safely.

  • If you are driving 55 miles per hour, you cover a distance of 0.91 miles during a single minute. Increase your speed to 85, the highest in the country, and you’ve traveled 1.42 miles. While this may not seem significant, think about how many times you have swerved just in time to miss another vehicle or object.

Stopping Distance

The faster you are traveling, the more stopping distance you need because it takes that much more time to slow then stop. When traveling at high speeds, increase the distance between you and other vehicles. Leave room to react and stop.

  • On average, a car traveling at 50 miles per hour will take 14 car lengths to stop completely, whereas a car traveling at 80 miles per hour would take 21 cars lengths to stop. That’s a fifty percent increase for only 30 more miles per hour.
  • During the stopping time, you will hit anything in your path. Stopping distance is a main factor in multiple vehicle pile-ups. Cars simply cannot stop in time to avoid hitting other vehicles.

Crash Energy

The Insurance Institute for Highway safety states that high speeds increase the energy of a crash exponentially. In other words, there is more force behind the vehicle when it travels at a higher speed which makes an impact more deadly. During these high impact crashes, safety systems in cars and on the road may not work as effectively.

  • Car safety systems are designed to withstand great amounts of crash energy, however there are limits to the amounts in which they can properly operate.
  • Air bags, seat belts, and other devices are vital to keeping occupants safe. If they fail, the likelihood of serious injury or death grows.
  • The same principal applies to crash cushions, barriers, and other safety measures outside of the vehicle. These devices are put in place to absorb some of the crash energy.

Despite your diligence, you may be in a high-speed crash at some time and incur high medical bills, car repairs, and other distress. A car accident law firm can help. From negotiating with insurance companies and other liable parties, a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts can help you recover damages from an accident.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases resulting from high-speed accidents.

2 dead, 1 injured in wrong-way crash on 75 near Downtown in Dallas

Two people died and one was injured in a wrong-way crash on southbound Central Expressway near Downtown late Monday. Although at this point the accident investigation is on-going, it is safe to predict a contributing factor for the accident will be a high level of distracted and/or inhibited driving.

Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents and the increase in road fatalities with young drivers. 

(Photo: Mike Forbes, WFAA)

(Photo: Mike Forbes, WFAA)

The wrong-way driver identified as Lauren Cordova, 27, was driving northbound in a southbound lane on 75 at about 11:45 p.m. in the 2200 block of Central. An Infiniti headed southbound in the left lane, approaching the Good Latimer Expressway exit, when the two cars crashed head-on.

(Photo: Mike Forbes, WFAA)

(Photo: Mike Forbes, WFAA)

Both drivers died at the scene. A passenger in the Infiniti was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

The driver of the Infiniti has been identified as Hussein Zaybek, 23, police said. Both Zaybek and Cordova are from the DFW area.

The unidentified male passenger in the Infiniti was taken to an area hospital, although the extent of his injuries and condition are unknown.

(Photo: Mike Forbes, WFAA)

(Photo: Mike Forbes, WFAA)

The accident investigation is ongoing.

Thanks to: Chad Selby and Mike Forbes of WFAA

Losing Battle Against Distracted Driving Forces Creative Solutions by Police

Reyes Law - Texting while driving - Dallas Texas

Distracted driving in the U.S. is a widespread and dangerous habit, practiced both brazenly and surreptitiously by so many motorists that police are being forced to get creative, but still can’t seem to make much headway.

For example:

In Bethesda, Maryland, a police officer disguised himself as a homeless man, stood near a busy intersection and radioed ahead to officers down the road about texting drivers. In two hours, police gave out 56 tickets.

State troopers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have been known to patrol in a tractor-trailer so they can sit up high and spot drivers texting behind the wheel.

In West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, an officer regularly pedals around town on his bicycle, pulls up to drivers at stoplights and hands out $105 tickets.

“It’s everyone, kids, older people — everyone. When I stop someone, they say, ‘You’re right. I know it’s dangerous, but I heard my phone go off and I had to look at it,’ ” said West Bridgewater Officer Matthew Monteiro.

Forty-six states have laws against texting and driving, typically also banning sending or reading email, using apps or engaging in other internet activity.

Fourteen states bar drivers from using hand-held cellphones at all, including talking.

Although more focus has been placed on distracted driving, the problem only seems to be getting worse.

New York Citations Issued:

2011 – 9,000

2015 – 85,000

Massachusetts Citations Issued:

2011 – 1,100

2015 – 6,100

In California, the number of people found guilty of texting while driving climbed from under 3,000 in 2009 to over 31,000 in 2015.

Although these figures seem high, it is important to realize how difficult enforcement is, in part because of the difficulty in proving texting violations in states that allow drivers to talk on hand-held cellphones.

Deterrent campaigns continue to evolve and range from media campaigns educating on the dangers of distracted driving, to the encouragement of defensive driving and even as far as some states increasing the penalties, including Louisiana, which raised its fine for first-time offenders from $175 to up to $500.

Reyes Browne Reilley is a Dallas, Texas, based Martindale-Hubbell AV-Rated personal injury law firm. Our Dallas car accident lawyers have a nearly combined 100 years experience representing plaintiffs in personal injury, business, and dangerous prescription drug & device litigation. Call us today for a free consult to find out more.

Thanks to: The Berkshire Eagle News

Auto Accident Fatalities Increase Despite Better Auto Safety

The increase in driving deaths could reflect new threats to auto safety, like driver distraction from infotainment systems and smartphones.

Based on recent crash death rates, which have been on the rise since 2014, the National Safety Council predicts this Labor Day will result in 438 people being killed during the three-day holiday weekend – proving to be the deadliest since 2008.

Despite better safety equipment in cars, car crash deaths are rising with about 19,100 people being killed on U.S. roads since January — enough to fill 382 school buses — and 2.2 million were seriously injured, the council says.

At the same time, more and more cars come equipped with varying degrees of safety features that are proving to save more lives in crashes; which include more airbags, automated braking, blind spot warnings, backup cameras, etc.

“It’s a complicated situation because cars are definitely getting safer, but you could have all the air bags or warnings in the world and if you’re not paying attention something bad can happen.” says Kelley Blue Book managing editor Matt DeLorenzo.

The increase in driving deaths could reflect new threats to auto safety, like driver distraction from infotainment systems and smartphones.

“These numbers could be lower if distracted driving wasn’t an issue,” DeLorenzo says. “Ten years ago, people weren’t using smartphones as much, so I think if there was a study on distracted driving (it would show) there share of fatalities has been growing and that’s keeping the numbers up.”

Reyes Browne Reilley is a Dallas, Texas based Martindale-Hubbell AV-Rated personal injury law firm. Our Dallas auto accident lawyers have a nearly combined 100 years experience representing plaintiffs in personal injury, business, and dangerous prescription drug & device litigation. Call us today for a free consult to find out more.

Thanks to: USA Today

Traffic Fatalities Increase 9 Percent in First Half of 2016

Traffic Fatalities Increase 9 Percent in First Half of 2016

Until recent years, traffic fatalities were on a decades-long decline, hitting a historic low in 2011.

But 2015 saw the greatest percentage rise in traffic fatalities in 50 years, the National Safety Council previously reported.

Nationwide, about 19,100 people, enough to fill 382 school buses, died in crashes between January and June of this year, the council said. Another 2.2 million were injured, the council continued.

These numbers, compared to 2015, mean traffic fatalities have risen nine percent in the first half of 2016. The council relates the increase to a stronger economy and falling gas prices, as they have encouraged Americans to spend more on the road.

The average price at the pump has dropped more than a $1.30 per gallon, or 35 percent, since this time two years ago, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

However, more travelers on the road do not necessarily mean more accidents. So what is the stimulus or cause or this increase?

Troy Costales, safety division administrator at the Oregon Department of Transportation, weighs in when he attributed the increase to speeding, drug- or alcohol-impaired driving and distraction.

“Distraction is one that we’re talking a lot about, you just get a sense that distraction is playing a part and is a compounding factor,” he said.

Which poses the question – is smart phone use while driving outpacing the automobile industry’s ability to save us from ourselves?

The council estimated the total cost for crashes in the first half of 2016 at $205 billion.

“Our complacency is killing us,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in a statement. “One hundred deaths every day should outrage us.”

Reyes Browne Reilley is a Dallas, Texas based Martindale-Hubbell AV-Rated personal injury law firm. Our Dallas traffic accident lawyers have a nearly combined 100 years experience representing plaintiffs in personal injury, business, and dangerous prescription drug & device litigation. Call us today for a free consult to find out more.

Thanks to: The Wall Street Journal