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Texas Personal Injury News

Friday, September 15, 2017

Texas Lawmakers May Soon Eliminate Local Texting Laws

Is it illegal to text and drive in Texas?

While most other states have had a ban on texting and driving in place for years, Texas has just recently adopted such a measure.  Texting while driving is known to be incredibly dangerous, not just for the texting driver, but for all other road users as well.  According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 1,600,000 accidents are caused by texting each year, resulting in over 330,000 injuries and thousands of deaths.  Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to crash.  Yet despite widespread knowledge of the dangers of distracted driving, drivers of all ages continue to engage in this hazardous behavior.  Recognizing the need for increased regulations to prevent distracted driving car accidents, Texas lawmakers are taking action.  

Texas’ Texting While Driving Ban

Governor Greg Abbott recently signed a ban into law that would make texting while driving illegal.  It would result in a fine of up to $99 for first time offenders and $200 for repeat offenses.  With passage of the law, now only three states in the country are without a texting while driving ban.  The law specifically makes it illegal for drivers to read, write, or send electronic messages while driving.  However, the law left unclear the fate of dozens of city laws relating to distracted driving.  Several cities in Texas already have laws in place banning texting.

Now, the Texas senate has given tentative approval to a law that would pre-empt all local ordinances concerning driver’s cell phone use.  With this measure in place, Texas would have one uniform law that makes it illegal for drivers to text and drive.  Opponents to the bill are calling for a stronger statewide law, if indeed the more stringent city laws are to be eliminated.  The bill will now head to the House for final approval.  

Texas’ new texting while driving law will hopefully make drivers think twice about picking up their phones while behind the wheel.  Anyone who has been injured by a suspected texting driver should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to explore their legal options.  Drivers injured by distracted drivers could be eligible to receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  


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