It happened just three days after Christmas 2012.
Dulce Barajas, just 22 years old and a new mother, was driving on a narrow farm-to-market road northwest of Alton with her sister and her newborn son, Pablo.
Dulce was behind the wheel — and behind her cell phone.
As she was texting, the car in front of her braked suddenly. And while attempting to avoid a rear-end collision, Dulce swerved into oncoming traffic on the two-lane highway — striking a 62-year-old man in a Chevrolet pickup head on.
That man, along with Dulce’s son Pablo, were rushed to the hospital. Neither survived. Dulce died at the scene.
And just 10 months later, another Rio Grande Valley driver, Rene Claudio Jr., is accused of texting behind the wheel when he slammed his Lexus into the back of a Ford Focus, sending the car into the media, where it exploded upon impact.
The driver of the Ford Focus was burned beyond recognition, according to authorities.
These are just two horrific examples of what can happen when texting and other distractions get in the way of responsible driving.
Texting while driving can make a driver 23 times more likely to have a collision, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. And more than 1.5 million crashes are caused by texting while driving, reports show.
Worse yet, our youngest drivers don’t seem to be getting the message.
Research by University of Michigan scientists revealed that 25% of teens respond to a text at least once behind the wheel — and 20% admit to having extended, multi-message conversations via text. Statistics show about 11 teens die every day because of texting while driving.
Twenty-five percent of teens respond to a text message at least once while they’re driving, according to a report by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and 20 percent admit to having extended, multi-message text conversations. Texting while driving accounts for 11 teen deaths every day, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
As Texas lawmakers debate the role of a statewide texting-while-driving ban, a majority of cities in the Rio Grande Valley have already instituted texting bans of their own. Meanwhile, judges across the state are reminding the public that all Texas drivers are very much responsible for any negligence when it comes to driving.
Have you been injured by a distracted driver? Garcia, Ochoa and Mask have extensive experience in proving wrongdoing through cell phone records and other technological data. Call us today to find out how we can keep justice from being distracted in your case. 956.630.2882