Texting While Driving Banned in Austin, Not Texas
Currently, 41 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) ban text messaging behind the wheel for all drivers. If a driver were to be caught texting while driving in one of these states, law enforcement officers can issue tickets and fines. Fair enough, right? Texting while driving is generally considered to be the most alarming form of distracted driving and is responsible for causing thousands of injuries and fatalities during auto accidents each year. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a federal agency that promotes driver safety, states that distracted driving and texting while driving are a national epidemic. As anyone should know by now, text messaging while driving is extremely negligent, entirely careless, and incredibly negligent. This being the case, why does Texas still not have a statewide ban?
According to a number of studies, a majority of Texans believe that texting while driving should be illegal. Unfortunately, Texas legislators can’t seem to agree. Just a few months ago, a bill proposing a statewide texting ban failed to pass – and it wasn’t the first time. While legislators remain gridlocked, Governor Rick Perry has not stated what his office plans to do about a statewide texting ban, or what would have happened had this last bill passed. Last session, he vetoed similar legislation. In the past, Gov. Perry has stated that he believes texting while driving is dangerous, but a government ban would be too much interference.
CURRENT TEXAS TEXTING LAWS
As debates rage on in Texas, it is important for local residents – as well as the victims and families who have suffered damages at the hands of a driver who was texting behind the wheel – to know current laws on cell phone use and text messaging. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), Texas may not have a statewide ban, but is does prohibit the use of cell phones and text messaging for certain drivers and in certain situations. Texas enforces the following cell phone and texting prohibitions:
- Drivers who possess learner’s permits cannot use handheld cellphones within the first six months of driving.
- Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using any wireless communication device.
- School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones when children are present.
- All drivers are prohibited from using cell phones and handheld devices in school crossing zones.
In addition to these laws, the city of Austin enforces a texting ban. Austin is one of the few cities in Texas that prohibits texting for all drivers and in all situations. Whatever the current laws may be and however zealously legislators and local residents continue to argue about the subject, the fact remains that texting while driving is negligent, careless, dangerous, and an act that any reasonable person should know places others at risk of suffering harm during an accident. As such, victims injured by distracted drivers who were texting at the time have every legal right to pursue a recovery of their damages. By presenting persuasive evidence that another driver committed an act of negligence they knew could cause harm, an Austin car accident attorney from our firm can fight to obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you would like more information about Texas’ laws on texting while driving, or if you wish to discuss your case with Attorney Adam Loewy, please contact an Austin personal injury lawyer from The Loewy Law Firm today.