Undoubtedly, technology has changed the world over the last few decades. An area that has created one of the biggest concerns is cell phones, particularly smart phones, and their use by drivers while operating a vehicle. Along with cell phones, there are numerous applications that can be used by drivers when behind the wheel of a car that add to the dangers such as: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, fantasy sports, email, or using the phone’s GPS capabilities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly ten percent (10%) of the nationwide crashes in 2013 were caused by distracted drivers, most of which were in conjunction with cell phone usage.
In the last few years, there has been a push in the Texas Legislature to ban the use of cell phones while operating a vehicle. Starting in 2009, there have been attempts to pass new legislation to outlaw the use of cell phones except in certain scenarios such as using a phone to report a crime or in an emergency. In 2011, the bill actually made it all the way to then-governor Rick Perry’s desk, but was ultimately vetoed by Perry because it was “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.” The same could be said about laws prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Although there has yet to be a state law passed, multiple cities throughout Texas have already implemented laws against using a cell phone while driving. In fact, 95 cities across Texas have made it a misdemeanor to use a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Further, 46 states have already implemented statewide bans on operating cell phones while driving. Texas appears to be lagging behind the other states with regards to protecting its motorists from the clearly documented dangers of cell phone use while driving. It is certainly a problem that does not appear to be going away anytime soon and, in all likelihood, will increase as society becomes even more dependent upon cell phones.
If you or anyone you know has been injured by a distracted driver, call an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211.