Texting and driving is one form of distracted driving that can cause serious automobile crashes, resulting in people suffering life-altering injuries and deaths. Texas is only one of six states that has no law banning this dangerous practice. According to the National Safety Council, cellphones played a role in many crashes in 2014:
- 26 percent of all motor vehicle wrecks in 2014 involved cellphone usage—an increase from the previous year.
- 5 percent of crashes involved texting while driving.
At present, Texas has a number of laws regarding cellphone usage, and some cities have their own bans on cellphone usage, texting, and driving. Under Texas law, it is illegal for:
- Drivers under 18 years older to use any wireless communication device while driving
- Drivers with a learning permit to use handheld phones during the first six months of their permit
- Drivers of any age to text in a school zone
- School bus drivers to use cellphones while children are present
In addition, teens applying for a Texas driver’s license must have first taken a one-hour course on distracted driving dangers.
The Proposed Legislation to Ban Texting While Driving
A bipartisan bill introduced to ban texting and driving was allowed to die in the Texas Senate. It would have provided for the following:
- Prohibited motorists from using a wireless device to read, write, or send a text message while driving unless the vehicle was stopped and outside of traffic lanes.
- Made violation of the law a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $200.
This was the third attempt to pass this important legislation. In 2011, Governor Rick Perry vetoed a similar bill and in 2013, a bill never got far in the Texas legislature. Unfortunately, unlike other cities in Texas, Fort Worth and Dallas do not have a law banning texting while driving. Until Texas follows the lead of almost all the other states in the country and bans this dangerous practice, motorists will continue to suffer serious injuries and death in these deadly wrecks.