Refresher Course on Texas’ One-Year-Old Ban on Texting While Driving

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by Distracted Driving Lawyer in Dallas, Tim O’Hare

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Last September, a statewide ban on texting while driving took effect, making texting while driving illegal across the state. The law prohibits motorists from reading, writing or sending electronic messages while driving.

According to TxDOT Executive Director James Bass, one in five crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving. In 2016, distracted driving accounted for more than 109,000 crashes in Texas, resulting in 455 deaths and more than 3,000 serious injuries.

Agree or disagree with the law, texting while driving can cost you financially, but it could also cost you your life. Since the law went into effect, law enforcement officers are now able to pull drivers over for suspected texting while driving. First-time offenders may be punished with a fine of up to $99. Repeat offenses would be punishable by a fine of up to $200. It’s important to note that the new law does not cover other phone use, such as map applications. Making calls on your phone is not banned, except where posted as in active school zones.

Enforcing the law remains difficult and presents challenges to law enforcement officials when it comes to meeting the criminal burden of proof. But just because you may be able to “get away with it,” before you make the decision to text and drive, consider the potential implications and lives you may be putting in danger.

Though texting is one of the most common distracted driving offenses, it is not the only way a driver may become distracted. Any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from driving is considered distracted driving and may endanger not only the driver, but his or her passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. In addition to texting, other high-risk behind-the-wheel activities include:

  • Posting to social media
  • Checking email
  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • Reading
  • Programming a navigation system
  • Watching a Video

If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas – Ft. Worth distracted driving lawyer.

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