It’s official, it is now illegal to text while driving in Texas.
On September 1, 2017, a statewide ban on texting while driving was implemented. Texas HB 62 prevents drivers from using a phone to “read, write, or send an electronic message while operating motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.” First time offenders face a fine of $25 to $99. Repeat offenders face a fine of as much as $200. If an accident results from a person texting while driving and someone is injured or killed, the distracted driver can face up to a year in jail and upwards of $4,000 in fines.
HB 62 also requires motorists to use a hands-free device if they choose to talk on the phone while driving. The hands free device should allow the driver to begin or end a call by only needing to briefly touch a phone or vehicle control. Exceptions to these bans on cell phone use include requesting emergency aid or reporting illegal activity. It should also be noted, however, that there are many local ordinances across Texas which may place even more restrictions on permissible cell phone use. Over 40 Texas cities have local cell phone laws in place that are stricter than HB 62.
The threat of distracted drivers on the road is real. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that 455 people were killed and more than 3,000 people were seriously injured in the state in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving. This was in 2016 alone. Remember that distracted driving is unsafe driving. When you are operating a motor vehicle, try setting your phone to “do not disturb” to try and minimize distractions. If a call or text can’t wait, pull over to safe area and put your car in park. Additionally, consider allowing a passenger to manage your texts and calls while you are behind the wheel.
Texas is making moves, such as enacted HB 62, to curb the damage distracted driving causes. When people take their eyes off of the road to check their phones, people can be seriously and even fatally injured as a result. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Scott M. Brown & Associates are here for you. We hold distracted drivers accountable for the damage they have caused. We fight for your legal right to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today by calling (281) 612-8241 or go online.