Texting while driving is a dangerous distraction – and as of September 1, 2017, it will be illegal in Texas.
In May, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a measure that bans driver texting and emailing while the vehicle is moving. This law expands the current law that prohibits texting in school zones.
Texting while driving worries officials more than any other driving distraction because this activity involves 3 types of distraction:
Manual distraction – because your hands are off the wheel,
Visual distraction – as you look at your smartphone screen, and
Cognitive distraction – when you think about the text you read/write.
In fact, when you consider that the average text takes 5 seconds to send, texting while driving at 55 miles per hour is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed!
“It Can Wait”
The name of the new law – “It Can Wait” – precisely conveys the message that lawmakers want Texas drivers to understand. There is no text message so important that it cannot wait until the driver has stopped the vehicle in a safe place.
The potential for distracted driving accidents is huge with 660,000 drivers using cellphones every daylight hour! Not surprisingly, teens are the largest age group involved in these fatal crashes.
Texas Establishes Stiff Penalties for Violating Texting While Driving Law
Under the new law, first time texting while driving offenders risk a fine of between $25-$99, while repeat offenders will be fined between $100-$200.
If an accident caused by texting and driving results in a fatality or serious bodily injury of another person, the driver can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This charge comes with a fine not to exceed $4,000 and a jail term not to exceed one year.
For more information especially on how to discuss this subject with your teen driver, visit the NHTSA Distracted Driving website.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless or distracted driver, contact the experienced auto accident attorneys at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant to learn more about your legal options. We have been helping clients in Texas for more than three decades get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.
Terry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]