Texas one of the few states with no total ban on texting while driving
Currently, 41 states have laws on the books that completely ban texting while driving, although sadly, Texas is not among them. Despite attempts by several lawmakers, Texas remains one of the last states in which most drivers are free under state law to engage in the deadly practice of texting while behind the wheel.
It is no secret that texting can be a severe distraction for drivers – a distraction that can lead to horrible consequences. In fact, according to numbers reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 387,000 people were injured in 2011 in car accidents involving distracted drivers, with an additional 3,331 people killed.
Unfortunately, all attempts thus far by lawmakers to create a blanket ban on texting while driving in Texas have been met with failure. For instance, there was a bill introduced in the Texas legislature this session that would have prohibited drivers from texting, although it became stalled in committee after passing in the House. In addition, Governor Perry vetoed a similar bill last session claiming it would result in too much government interference.
Texas laws that impact texting while driving
Even though Texas doesn’t currently have a complete ban on texting while driving, there are still some laws in the Lone Star State that limit the practice in certain situations. For example, bus drivers with minor passengers and drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from texting while driving in Texas.
Also, despite the failure of Texas lawmakers to pass a comprehensive ban on texting while behind the wheel, they did recently enact a bill that will forbid Texas drivers from texting while driving if they are operating a motor vehicle in a school crossing zone during periods when reduced speed limits are in effect. This particular bill – otherwise known as House Bill 437 – will become effective on September 1.
It should also be noted that the City of Austin is one of only a handful of cities in Texas to enact its own ordinances regarding texting while driving. Indeed, city ordinances in Austin ban drivers from texting while driving, regardless of location or the driver’s age – thus filling the gap that state law leaves behind.
Sadly, until state lawmakers pass a complete ban on texting while driving, only motorists in cities like Austin will enjoy the increased safety that these laws provide. However, if you have already been injured by a driver who was carelessly texting at the time of the accident, it is advisable to contact a knowledgeable distracted driving accident attorney. An experienced attorney can provide helpful guidance and outline what your rights and options may be given your circumstances.