Although many states have already instituted laws that restrict the use of mobile devices while driving, Texas remains one of the few holdouts in the U.S. without an outright ban on texting while driving. The reasons behind this failure to protect drivers and passengers are difficult to understand, especially for those who have been involved in a Houston car accident caused by a distracted driver. In fact, bills have been introduced and passed on two separate occasions that would have prohibited the use of cellphones and other mobile devices by drivers. One was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry in 2011; the other died in committee in the Texas Senate Transportation Committee in 2013.
A Nationwide Epidemic of Distracted Driving
According to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people lost their lives in accidents involving distracted driving in 2015. Additionally, 391,000 people were injured in these crashes. Cell phone use, especially texting, can be a significant source of distraction for drivers. A comprehensive ban on the use of mobile devices while driving is already in place in 46 of the 50 states, with Montana and Arizona the only states that do not regulate cell phone use by drivers in any way.
A Middle Ground for Texas
The state of Texas does prohibit the use of cell phones by school bus drivers and drivers with limited experience behind the wheel. Additionally, it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in a school zone. These restrictions have improved Houston auto accident safety on Texas streets and highways to a significant degree. Most experts, however, believe that more must be done to prevent distracted drivers from endangering the safety of others on the road.
Texas Legislature Considers Statewide Ban
A bill currently in process in the Texas legislature will give the state a third chance to institute rules prohibiting the practice of texting while driving. Under the provisions of Senate Bill 31, drivers convicted of a first offense would be subject to a fine of up to $99. For those convicted on more than one occasion, however the fines could potentially be as high as $200 for each offense. The bill has attracted widespread public support and could save lives if passed into law.
The Houston car crash attorneys at DeSimone Law Office can provide help for you and your family if you have been the victim of an accident that involved distracted driving. We can provide you with the support you need after your Houston car accident and can ensure that you receive the representation you need to protect your legal rights. Call us today at 713-526-0900 to schedule your free case evaluation. At DeSimone Law Office, we want to be your attorneys for life.