Texas Governor Signs Law Banning Texting While Driving

Texas Governor Signs Law Banning Texting While Driving

by Distracted Driving Lawyer in Dallas, Tim O’Hare

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Texas is cracking down on distracted driving. On Tuesday, June 6, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a statewide ban on texting while driving into law. The ban takes effect Sept. 1.

The ban comes just months after 13 people were killed when their church bus was hit by a driver who claimed he was texting.

In 2016, there were 109,658 traffic accidents in Texas involving distracted driving. In those accidents, more than 3,000 people were injured and 455 were killed, according to TxDOT.

Texas joins at least 47 other states with similar laws. Once the law takes effect, law enforcement will be able to pull drivers over for suspected texting while driving. Under the law, 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.

The new ban is on texting only; it does not cover other phone use, such as map applications. Gov. Abbott hopes when lawmakers meet in special session in July and August, they will rollback existing local ordinances that ban mobile device use beyond texting to avoid a “patchwork of regulations,” and keep the law consistent statewide.

While texting may be 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
• Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

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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