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Distracted driving still a problem despite laws against it

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 23:25:44-05

A bicyclist involved in an accident late Tuesday night involving an SUV is recovering.

Despite riding near the shoulder of the road with a well-lit bicycle, he was still hit. So why didn't the driver see him?

Corpus Christi Police Department officers said the woman that hit him was driving distractedly, and given two citations: one for "failure to control speed," and another for "using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle."

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one in five crashes involve driver distraction. Drivers who use cell phones in their vehicles have a higher risk of collision than drivers who don't.

In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed a statewide ban on using a wireless communications device for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Texting, as well as reading or writing email, is prohibited while driving in Texas.

Despite the law, drivers continue to have accidents while using their phones. Many local areas have passed stricter ordinances which completely limit any cell-phone use while driving.

"It was night but that area was lit," said CCPD Senior Officer Robert Nunez, who was at the scene of Tuesday night's accident. "The driver was traveling south and was distracted. She said she was using her GPS, and looking for an address, and didn't see him in front of her. She actually didn't notice him until the impact."

CCPD officers said even if a driver is using their phone's GPS to navigate, it's still considered distracted driving.

They said it's the responsibility of drivers to learn the laws in their local areas. If a driver must make a phone call or send a text, it's the safest policy to pull over or wait until they're no longer driving.