Austin, TX (Law Wire News) June 12, 2014
A police officer with the North East Independent School District and retired member of the San Antonio Police Department was injured last weekend while directing traffic for a funeral procession. The driver of an SUV allegedly looked away from the road just long enough to slam into another car, spin around, and then hit the motorcycle on which Sergeant Charles Langley was sitting (“North East ISD officer hit by SUV in San Antonio,” MySanAntonio.com, June 4, 2014). Fortunately, while both Sergeant Longley and the woman in the third car were hospitalized, the incident did not appear to cause any serious injuries (“Off duty NEISD officer hit while on motorcycle for funeral procession,” KENS5.com, June 4, 2014).
The fact that this chain reaction incident apparently was started by a driver who police say was concentrating on something other than the road ahead should not come as a surprise to anyone who has spent time on Texas roads recently. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that nearly 95,000 motor vehicle accidents were caused by distracted driving last year, accounting for one in five of all accidents on the state’s roads. These crashes resulted in more than 18,000 serious injuries and 459 deaths (“Talk. Test. Crash. – Distracted Driving Campaign,” Texas Department of Transportation website). Whether it stems from cell phone use, reading a text message, or simply taking too long to scan radio stations, Texas drivers who take their attention away from the cars around them and what lies directly ahead continue to pose a threat to those traveling around them.
Tony R. Bertolino is managing attorney with Bertolino LLP, a Texas law firm with attorneys who represent clients in personal injuries and property damages stemming from motor vehicle accidents, and he shares that the number of collisions that could be avoided by more attentive drivers is quite substantial.