Texting and driving raises the risk of motor vehicle crashes exponentially, but these accidents continue to occur in Texas, as well as across the United States. Looking away from the road and taking one or both hands off the wheel can be deadly, but a cognitive distraction can occur even when a person appears to be in full control of the vehicle.
State legislators have passed a law that bans certain uses of cellphones while driving. However, many cities in Texas have already enacted municipal ordinances that impose stricter usage limits, including a ban on all cellphone use behind the wheel. The new legislation, which goes into effect Sept. 1, does not affect those laws. Although he signed the bill, Gov. Greg Abbott has expressed disapproval of this fact, wanting it to override others.
Unlike Gov. Abbott, others in the state believe the new law does not go far enough. It still allows drivers to make and receive calls on their cellphones, and they may read and write electronic messages when stopped. It will also remain legal for drivers to interact with GPS and stereo programs while driving. There may be an opportunity for legislators to make changes to the law during a special session in the summer.
From fender benders to head-on collisions, distracted driving accidents continue to cause injuries and fatalities in Texas. Victims and family members whose lives have been devastated by this deadly behavior may want to talk to an attorney about holding an irresponsible driver liable for the damages.
Source: MySA, “Statewide texting ban long overdue,” June 15, 2017