Effective September 1, 2017, texting while driving is considered illegal throughout the state of Texas. The law was passed during the 85th Texas Legislative Session. During the session, legislators discussed the new law, which prohibits motorists from reading, writing, or sending a text message while they are driving. Texas is certainly not the first state to pass such a law. All across the country, individuals are finding themselves in hot water because they were texting while driving. Accidents caused by texting while driving have been known to kill in the past. It only makes sense that the state of Texas wishes to protect its citizens and infrastructure from preventable vehicular accidents.
Texas Texting and Driving Laws
During the 85th Texas Legislative Session, a total of 673 new Texas laws were implemented. However, none affected people more than the ban on texting while driving. When most people hear of this ban, they wonder whether they can use their phone at all while in driving. The answer is yes. You can still use your mobile phone to talk, as long as it is hands-free. You can play music, operate a GPS, report a crime, and seek emergency services while driving. These situations are looked over. However, you cannot actively look down at your phone and text while behind the wheel. It is far too unsafe.
If you are pulled over for distracted driving, which would include texting on your phone while behind the wheel, you face penalties under the statewide law. For a first offense, the fine is up to $99; any following offenses include fines up to $200. However, some cities in the state of Texas are stricter with the new ruling. You may find that fines, penalties, or jail time requirements are more severe in other areas. It is better to err on the side of caution and not risk an accident while texting.
Is the Ban Necessary?
Yes, it is quite necessary. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 109,658 traffic accidents in Texas alone due to distracted driving. These crashes resulted in 455 deaths and 3,087 serious injuries or complications. A distracted driver poses a significant risk to themselves and to others while on the road.
Unfortunately, just as before, far too many drivers here in Texas will ignore the safety of themselves and others in order to send one more text to their friend. Or, they will actively text on their phone while driving. If you are in an accident with a distracted driver, you have legal options to fight back. Often, a distracted driver will cause immense damage. They are not paying attention to where they are going and may lose control of the vehicle. The resulting damage and injuries can be quite extensive and costly.