The evidence is overwhelming that using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous. Studies have repeatedly shown that talking or texting are deadly distractions.
Across the country, a majority of states have reacted to the scientific evidence by passing texting bans. Twenty-seven states have enacted laws prohibiting drivers from texting while driving; eight states have banned entirely the use of mobile phones while driving.
Texas is one of the few states with virtually no restrictions on texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel.
One Argument for a Texting Ban
Proponents of a texting ban in Texas can point to a deadly crash in March as just one example of why the legislature should act to outlaw texting.
In that crash, a San Antonio woman was killed after her SUV was struck by a city vehicle driven by a man who was then spokesperson for the San Antonio police department.
City records show that Gabriel Trevino was sending and receiving text messages in the moments before his vehicle slammed into the 64-year-old woman’s Jeep Liberty, causing it to roll over several times.
She died at the scene of the collision. A passenger in the Jeep was seriously injured in the crash. Both had been wearing seatbelts.
The victim’s family has filed a lawsuit against Trevino.
On Sept. 1, two Texas distracted driving laws will go into effect: one prohibits drivers under 18 years old from using a wireless device while driving. The other prohibits drivers from using mobile phones while in school crossing zones (it also prohibits school bus drivers from using phones any time while behind the wheel).
The Research on Texting
The scientific evidence of the dangers of texting while driving is growing. Here are some of the results of that research:
- The Transport Research Laboratory found that texting behind the wheel is more dangerous than drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana while driving. Reaction time while texting slowed 35 percent; reaction time after drinking alcohol slowed 12 percent, and deteriorated by 21 percent under the influence of marijuana.
- Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that people who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a collision or near-crash event. Researchers studied truck drivers covering more than six million miles by installing cameras trained on their eyes.
- A Clemson University study found that text messaging caused drivers to leave their lanes 10 percent more frequently than non-distracted drivers.
- Drivers who use mobile phones behind the wheel are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to cause injuries, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
A Crash Could Change Everything
If you or a member of your family has been injured by a texting driver or a driver who was otherwise distracted, you should speak to a lawyer. Though there are currently no Texas laws outlawing texting, there are laws aimed and protecting the rights of injured people against negligent, distracted drivers. A Texas personal injury attorney can assess the facts of your case and tell you how the law can be used to seek redress for you and your loved ones.