Texting while driving is one of the single most dangerous things that a person can do. In fact, according to Distraction.gov, a person who is texting while driving is 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident than a person who is paying attention to traffic.
A motorist who makes the choice to send or receive texts while driving is doing something incredibly dangerous, and this dangerous choice doesn’t affect just the texting driver. Passengers in the car with the texting driver could get hurt, as could pedestrians, motorcyclists, bike riders and occupants of other vehicles.
When someone is injured as a result of someone’s choice to text and drive, the texter may be required under Texas law to pay for the damages he or she caused. Texting-while-driving accidents can be complex, but the Texas car accident lawyers at Roberts & Roberts are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact us at 903-597-6000 or fill out our online contact form for a free claim review and consultation. We represent clients injured by texting drivers in Tyler and Longview, all of Texas and throughout the United States.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
The Texas Department of Transportation provides Texas crash data each year, and these data shed some light on just how dangerous texting can be. According to the 2011 figures:
- 297 fatal crashes in Texas were attributed to distracted driving or driver inattention.
- 63 fatal crashes were attributed to a distraction inside the car.
- 40 fatal crashes were specifically attributed to the use of cell phones.
Many more people suffered injuries as a result of drivers who were distracted by cell phones and other electronic devices. The issue of texting while driving has become a major problem not just in Texas, but also throughout the United States. Distraction.gov indicates that the number of text messages sent in June 2011 was up almost 50 percent from the number of text messages sent in June 2009. In 2011, more than 196 billion texts were sent.
When text messages are sent or received behind the wheel, it is easy to see why an accident is so likely. Distraction.gov provides statistics that indicate texting requires taking your eyes off the road for around 4.6 seconds on average -- long enough to travel the length of a full football field at 55 mph. With eyes off the road and less brain activity focused on paying attention and responding to the behavior of other drivers, a crash seems almost inevitable.
Texas Laws on Texting While Driving
Although some states have enacted blanket bans on all texting while driving, Texas isn’t one of them. Texas has a limited prohibition preventing texting while driving under certain circumstances. Found in Section 545.425 of the Texas Code, the rules on texting and cell phones state that:
- Drivers under 18 cannot use wireless devices while they are driving.
- No driver may use a mobile or wireless device when they are in a school zone.
- School bus drivers cannot use their cell phones to text or talk when children are on the bus.
Outside of these basic rules, drivers in Texas are free to text if they want to, with the exception of drivers in certain counties that have imposed their own texting bans. The lack of a statewide ban could change, however, as Texas lawmakers have repeatedly tried to enact a law that would introduce a complete ban on texting and driving.
Regardless of whether a new anti-texting law passes or not, Texas drivers cannot simply text without consequences. There are reckless-driving laws in Texas, and all drivers have an obligation under the law to behave in a reasonably safe and prudent manner so they don’t put their fellow drivers at risk. That means that a texting driver could be held liable for causing an accident even if the driver wasn’t breaking a specific texting law at the time.