Distracted driving is a leading cause nationwide of fatal car wrecks.  In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that car accidents caused by distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,522 individuals.  Tragically Katy is no exception, but there are steps you and your teen driver can take to prevent such a devastating occurrence.

Previous generations did a great job of educating people about the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The current generation of young people, who are glued to their cell phones, must also be made aware of the serious dangers of distracted driving.  

What are the three primary areas of distracted driving?

  1. Visual distractions involve taking one’s eyes off the road.  These can be as simple as looking at a friend to speak as you are driving, looking at a phone, or looking at the controls of your radio.
  2. Manual distractions are actions that require the driver to remove their hands from the wheel.  Again, the cell phone comes into play, as does putting on makeup, eating or drinking, or moving to your favorite song as you drive.
  3. Cognitive distractions are those that divert the driver’s attention away from the act of driving. Even though the driver’s eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel, if they are not mentally focused on driving safely, everyone in the car is at risk of harm.  Cognitive distractions can involve speaking on a hands-free cell phone, singing along to music, listening to a podcast, and the inevitable distractions that can occur when multiple young people are in a car.

Why are cell phones so dangerous when driving?

Cell phones are obviously a distraction, but the reason they are particularly dangerous is they simultaneously involve all three forms of distraction.  Texting and other forms of cell phone use while driving is illegal in the state of Texas.  Drivers caught texting while driving in Katy can face a misdemeanor charge and fines between $25 and $99.  If a driver is texting or using their phone and it leads to the death or injury of another in Katy, the texting driver can face jail time and fines up to $4000.  

We, as parents and members of the Katy community, must educate ourselves and our teenage drivers so that we are all driving responsibly.  We must set an example and standard for our teens by practicing focused, distraction-free behavior while driving.  

Please take a few minutes to talk to your teen about distracted driving and safe driving practices in general.  Remind them that they are responsible for their friends’ safety when they are in a car together.  Talk about how they might handle a situation where their friends are getting a little too rowdy in the car.  Let them know it is ok to pull into a fast-food place and call you for help or advice while their friends grab a snack.  Having a plan in place will save face and maybe their life.   

The Law Office of Shane McClelland, PLLC represents those harmed in car wrecks and nothing would make us happier than for you or your family to never face such a tragedy. CLICK HERE to read the full article in the Katy Times.