Texas House Approves Texting While Driving Ban
- March 27, 2015
- Car Accidents
On March 25, 2015, the Texas House of Representatives approved a bill proposing a texting while driving ban. This is basically the same measure that was put before Governor Rick Perry in 2011, but got vetoed. House Bill 80 was sponsored by Representative Tom Craddick, R-Midland. It passed with a vote of 102 to 40. When it was vetoed in 2011, Governor Perry called it “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”
The Bill proposes that texting while driving would become a misdemeanor, which would be punishable by a fine. The first offense would be a fine of $99, and would increase with each reoccurrence for an amount up to $200.
The legislation does not restrict towns from creating and enforcing their own texting while driving bans. In fact, 40 cities in Texas, including Arlington, Grand Prairie, and Denton, have created and enforce their own ban on texting while driving. In Arlington and Denton, for example, the city can issue a ticket with a fine for $200. It is not even legal to text while stopped at a stop light in Arlington.
Victims’ Families Take a Stand
In February, more than 30 families who have lost someone due to texting and driving visited the state capital to help gain support for the ban on texting and driving. They supported both House Bill 80, and its companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 25. The families argued that a state-wide ban would make the roads safer by preventing crashes. It would also simplify the many bans that are in effect in other cities throughout Texas.
A Nationwide Movement
There are 44 states that currently outlaw texting and driving. There are also 37 states that ban cell phone use by new or teen drivers, including Texas. One in four accidents are caused by distracted driving, which includes texting, calling, and adjusting the radio, just to name a few examples. There were more than 94,000 crashes in Texas in 2013 that were the result of distracted driving. Those crashed caused 18,000 serious injuries and 459 deaths. According to national information, more than nine people are killed every day because of distracted driving.
Lawsuits Related to Distracted Driving Crashes
Car crashes that result in a civil lawsuit are also often the result of a crash caused by distracted driving. One of the first things that an attorney will ask a driver is whether they were texting or talking on the phone when the crash occurred. This type of distracted driving is an easy way to assess who is at fault in the crash. In civil cases, the other side can get phone records to determine if a text was sent or received, or if the person received or sent a phone call. That means that lying about it or trying to argue that the driver was just looking at the navigation, is going to be a poor defense.
There is very little defense to a situation where the driver caused an accident because they were on the phone or texting. If you or someone you love has been injured by someone who was texting and driving, be sure to talk to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Call 972-774-9800 or contact us online for your free consultation today. We will review your situation and do everything we can to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.