You are probably well aware that texting behind the wheel is extremely dangerous – and illegal in the State of Texas. A statewide ban on such practices (including – for obvious reasons – writing and reading emails) was implemented in Texas in 2017. The Texas Department of Transportation shares that 20 percent of all traffic accidents are predicated on driver distraction and that motorists who are engaged with their smartphones (whether handsfree or not) are even more likely to be involved in dangerous traffic accidents. If a distracted driver leaves you injured in a car accident, seek the professional legal counsel from an experienced injury attorney.
It is always a good idea to refresh your knowledge about safety rules and regulations, and the ones that apply to smartphones behind the wheel include:
- Motorists can neither send nor receive text messages while behind the wheel.
- Drivers who are not yet 18 years old are prohibited from using smartphones (or any handheld electronic devices) behind the wheel
- Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using smartphones (or any handheld electronic devices) for their first six months behind the wheel.
- School bus drivers may not use smartphones at all if children are on the bus.
- In school zones, all motorists are prohibited from all uses of handheld electronic devices while behind the wheel.
It is essential to point out that some counties also have local smartphone restrictions in place. It would be best to familiarize yourself with these laws before assuming that what you are doing with your smartphone is legal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are three dangerous categories of distraction that include:
- Visual – When a motorist’s eyes are focused on something other than the roadway ahead and the traffic all around.
- Cognitive – When a motorist’s thoughts are on anything other than the critical job at hand (driving safely).
- Manual – When a motorist’s hands leave the steering wheel.
Texting is uniquely dangerous – because it masterfully blends all three categories into one activity.
The CDC also shares that when a driver engages in texting behind the wheel, their eyes leave the road for an average of 5 seconds at a time. This fact translates to driving with your eyes closed for the length of a football field (when traveling at 55 miles per hour), and there is no driver out there who would consider this a safe practice.