Texas law prevents texting while driving, one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving behaviors.
Driving demands your focus and anything that distracts you from this important task increases your car accident risks. As texting while driving is particularly dangerous, numerous states have taken legal action in an effort to make roads safer and to draw attention to the problem. The Texas texting while driving law was enacted several years ago in response to the high number of distracted driving accidents and officials hope that by pulling over drivers and imposing fines, it can help keep roads in our area safer.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced the ban against texting while driving on September 1, 2017. It is one of numerous laws throughout the country meant to address the disturbing number of distracted driving accidents which occur on U.S. roads each year.
TxDOT officials report roughly one in every five car accidents in the state are the result of distracted driving. Under the texting law, drivers are prohibited from reading, writing, or sending any type of electronic message while operating a motor vehicle. The only exceptions are in cases in which the vehicle is stopped or in the event emergency communications are needed, such as when an accident or crime occurs.
The Texas texting while driving law is tougher than in some states, which have enacted texting bans but made it a secondary offense. This means that police cannot pull a driver over but can only cite the driver if he or she is stopped for some other reason. In our area, texting while driving is a primary offense, which means you can be immediately pulled over and cited if an officer observes you texting behind the wheel. Fines for texting while driving are $99 for a first offense and $200 for a second or subsequent offense. For drivers under the age of 18, all cell phone use is prohibited.
Law enforcement and public safety officials have specifically targeted texting while driving because it is so common and considered one of the most dangerous distracted driving behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three basic types of driver distractions:
Visual distractions, which cause you to take your eyes off the road;
Manual distractions, which cause you to remove your hands from the steering wheel;
Cognitive distractions, which divert your attention from the task of driving.
Texting behind the wheel involves all three of these characteristics. The CDC estimates that if you are traveling 55 miles per hour, taking your eyes of the road for even five seconds to quickly scan a text message is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field.
If you have been injured due to the actions of a distracted driver, the Law Office of Raúl Guajardo, P.L.L.C. is here to help. Contact our Edinburg distracted driving accident attorney and request a consultation today.