Families from across the state gathered in Austin on Tuesday to raise awareness about the twin bills that could ban texting while driving in Texas. According to a Texas Tribune article reported on by KFDX News Channel Three, over 30 families showed up at the Capitol to meet with lawmakers about the proposed bills.
Banning Texting While Driving
Concerned citizens met with state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and other lawmakers to talk about House Bill 80 and Senate Bill 25, both of which would enact a ban on texting while driving. The House bill would make texting while driving a misdemeanor in Texas, with an initial fine of $99 for first-time offenders. This isn’t the first time such legislation has been proposed though. Similar bills have been shot down by former Governor Rick Perry and others, who touted them as nanny-state micromanagement of adult behaviors.
Texting While Driving Bans Across the Country
At this time, 13 states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellular phones, and 37 states have an outright ban on phone use for teens or new drivers. Additionally, 44 states have a statewide ban on texting while driving, leaving Texas as one of the few remaining holdouts.
Distracted Driving Crashes in Texas
- In 2013, there were over 94,000 distracted-driving related crashes in Texas.
- Those crashes resulted in over 18,000 serious injuries and 459 preventable deaths.
- According to the NHTSA, over nine people are killed each day in distracted-driving related crashes.
Distracted Driving Crashes Widely Underreported
Although these numbers may be staggering, they’re thought to be widely underreported. Distracted-driving as a factor in crashes is still something we’re working on detecting. It’s not like there is a breathalyzer test for distracted driving. Sometimes, it takes additional investigative efforts to determine if distracted driving was a factor in a fatal or injury-causing crash.
After a Distracted Driving Accident
It still remains to be seen if and when Texas will get a statewide texting while driving ban. Although it isn’t illegal at this time, texting while driving is still an incredibly dangerous behavior. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a distracted driver, or if you suspect distracted driving could have been a factor in your crash, contact the skilled team at the Altman Legal Group at 940-761-4000 for a free case consultation today.