Distracted driving is dangerous driving, and the State of Texas is taking a stronger stand against it. While Texas has had anti-texting laws on the books for several years, these laws have not done enough to curb the problem of distracted driving. As such, Texas rolled out the new Senate Bill 43, which is in addition to the anti-distraction laws that are already in place.
Senate Bill 43
The state’s latest addition to laws aimed at distracted driving is Senate Bill 43, which is intended to stop drivers from using their smartphones when they are behind the wheel – unless they are doing so completely without the use of their hands. The bill went into effect on October 1, 2019, and the police can now write a ticket for anyone who is driving in a school zone or active construction zone with a phone in his or her hand.
While similar laws have failed to be particularly successful, this new legislation comes with much harsher penalties that lawmakers believe will be far more persuasive. These penalties include:
- A fine of $60
- A three-point hit on your driver’s license record
Distracted Driving Is 100% Preventable
The fact is that distracted driving is not only extremely dangerous but is also 100 percent preventable. When we get behind the wheel of our vehicles, we accept the immense responsibility of helping to keep the roads safe for everyone. Part of driving responsibly is driving distraction-free, which means never engaging with one's smartphone behind the wheel.
Distracted Driving: The Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) share two important statistics related to distracted driving:
- In 2017 alone, distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives.
- In 2017, nine percent of all fatal accidents involved distracted driving.
NHTSA reports that texting is the most dangerous distraction of all. In fact, sending or reading a text engages your sight and thoughts for an average of five seconds, which is the amount of time it takes to drive the length of a football field. In other words, a driver who is texting essentially drives blind for long distances at a time.
Smartphone usage, however, is far from the only distraction out there. The NHTSA relays that eating, drinking, having conversations with passengers in your car, and fiddling around with your stereo or GPS are all forms of distraction. Anything that diverts your attention from maneuvering your car safely is a dangerous distraction.