On March 25, 2015, the Texas House of Representatives approved House Bill 80 to outlaw texting while driving throughout the state of Texas. The bill must still make it through the Senate and past a possible gubernatorial veto. Former Governor Rick Perry vetoed two previous bills addressing the issue in 2011 and 2013, but legislators are hopeful for a different result this time around.
If the legislation is enacted, Texas will join 40 other states that ban texting by all drivers. Texas and most other states currently ban texting by drivers under the age of 18 and those with a learner’s permit for the first six months. Additionally in Texas, all cell phone use is prohibited in school zones and by school bus drivers while children are present.
Even though there is currently no statewide law against texting while driving in Texas, approximately 40 Texas cities have enacted their own city ordinances prohibiting the use of hand-held devices while driving. These ordinances vary in reach, from only prohibiting texting while the car is in motion to any use of a hand-held device by a driver unless parked. Some cities that have instituted cell phone ordinances include:
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso
- San Antonio
The new state law would apply to all cities, but would not override any stricter local bans already in place. Advocates of the new law contend that it will decrease the amount of distractions drivers encounter in their commute and establish a state-wide baseline for rules governing drivers and mobile devices, possibly saving around 90 lives per year in the state.
Texting While Driving is Dangerous Driving
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one in five crashes involves driver distraction and one of the most frequent causes of distraction is cell phone use, whether hands-on or hands-free. Even if your city or state is not one that currently has a law against cell phone use, one of the best ways to stay safe on the road is to avoid the distraction of using your phone while driving.
Mobile phones have become such a part of our everyday life that it is hard to resist the urge to pick up the phone to talk, text, email, or even search the Internet while driving. Unfortunately, the small amount of time that drivers take their eyes off of the road to read or reply to a text can lead to a devastating car accident.
Even though it is not currently illegal in all cities across Texas, drivers involved in accidents while texting may be considered more at fault due to the distraction. This means even if you are in a city without a prohibition on cell phone use, if you are involved in an accident while texting, it could result in a finding of liability against you and thus an increased chance of litigation for personal injuries suffered as a result of the crash.
Lubbock Car Accident Attorneys
Even with the increased awareness of the dangers of mobile phone use while driving, distracted drivers are still out there. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving another driver’s texting and driving, contact the attorneys at Liggett Law Group today. Our team of Lubbock car accident lawyers can inform you of your rights and help you get through this difficult time.