Above the Law? Police Officers in Texas and Distracted Driving Accidents
City officials throughout Texas are in agreement: Distracted driving is dangerous. Distracted driving can include texting, eating, grooming, using a navigation system or using the Internet while operating a vehicle. City officials aren’t the only ones noting how dangerous this practice can be; recent research has also supported this realization. In fact, some studies find that distracted driving can impair a driver even more than driving while intoxicated.Distracted driving is so dangerous that some states have passed legislation banning the use of hand held cellphones, texting and using the Internet while driving to reduce the risk of distracted driver accidents.
Although Texas has yet to pass a similar law, The National Transportation Safety Board has issued statements calling drivers to refrain from texting or using their smartphones while driving.
Unfortunately, a recent investigation conducted by NBC found that police officers throughout the state are not only violating the suggestion that they refrain from using the Internet and other distractions while driving, but that these distractions are leading to a number of car crashes involving police vehicles.
Details of Investigation
The investigation found police departments throughout Texas are allowing their officers to use two-way radios, smartphones and computers mounted on the dashboard while operating their vehicles.
The researchers reviewed state accident reports and found that 70 car crashes in the last two years were connected to a distraction within an emergency vehicle.
These accidents have impacted citizens across the state. One man, a former tennis pro, was hit while riding his motorcycle. The officer went through a stop sign and admitted to being distracted by the computer mounted on his dashboard at the time. The accident led to severe injuries and the former tennis star continues to have problems walking two years after the accident.
Another citizen was injured when a sheriff’s deputy ran a red light and crashed with a sport utility vehicle. The officer admitted he was distracted by a message that appeared on his computer.
Although some police departments have implemented policies prohibiting officers from using computers and other distractions while driving, others seem to feel invincible.
Steps to Take if Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident
If you or a loved one is injured in a distracted driving accident, compensation may be available to help cover the cost of medical and rehabilitative costs, as well as lost income. Contact an experienced distracted driver accident lawyer at 915-845-4529 to discuss your legal options.