It was this time last year when a lot a Texas drivers, perhaps including you, had to face the fact that their actions behind the wheel were dangerous. On Sept. 1, 2017, state lawmakers passed a law prohibiting drivers from texting. The law was heralded by public service announcements and campaigns outlining the dangers of taking your eyes off the road long enough to read or send a message on your mobile device.
Whether you had your own close calls with a phone in your hand or you are one of the countless Texas families who suffered injuries and loss due to someone else’s distraction, you may have made a conscious decision not to text while behind the wheel. But that doesn’t mean everyone else has.
How dangerous is texting?
Unfortunately, on the one-year anniversary of the passage of the law prohibiting texting and driving, police report having written thousands of tickets and warnings to drivers who persist in using their mobile devices while driving. You may have heard the familiar comparison that looking at a text message for five seconds while traveling 55 mph is like driving blindfolded the length of a football field. Safety advocates across the state share these additional facts about texting and driving:
- Since the passage of the new law, over 100,000 distracted driving accidents occurred in Texas.
- Over 2,800 travelers suffered injuries, some of them life-altering, and over 400 died.
- Nearly all drivers admit texting behind the wheel is dangerous, but 40 percent are willing to read an incoming text, and one third of drivers will type and send messages while driving.
- The law also bans reading and sending emails, using Facebook and other social media, and accessing certain apps while driving.
- A driver who is using a mobile device is 23 times more likely to have an accident.
While a driver who texts may be willing to take that risk, you probably agree that it is unfair of drivers to place you in danger.
Who pays the real price?
The penalties for texting and driving include fines of less than $100 although they are higher for repeat offenders. If a texting driver causes injury or death, that driver also risks going to jail.
However, even a year behind bars may not compare to a lifetime of recovery from injuries or the grief of losing a loved one in a senseless and preventable accident. If you are facing these painful truths, you have every right to seek legal advice about pursuing the compensation you deserve.