by Distracted Driving Lawyer in Dallas, Tim O’Hare
In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a statewide ban on texting while driving into law. The new law takes effect tomorrow, Sept. 1, 2017.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 455 people were killed and more than 3,000 were seriously injured in crashes due to distracted driving. Texting while driving is one of the leading causes of distracted driving accidents. Earlier this year, 13 people were killed when their church bus was hit by a driver who claimed he was texting.
Texas isn’t the first in the nation to ban texting while driving. At least 47 other states have similar laws on the books. Under the new law, beginning Sept. 1, law enforcement will be able to pull drivers over for suspected texting while driving. First-time offenders may be punished with a fine of up to $99. Repeat offenses would be punishable by a fine of up to $200. It’s important to note that the new law does not cover other phone use, such as map applications. Actually enforcing the law will be difficult. Using your phone is not banned. This will present law enforcement officials with serious challenges when it comes to meeting the criminal burden of proof.
Though texting is one of the most common distracted driving offenses, it is not the only way a driver may become distracted. Any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from driving is considered distracted driving and may endanger not only the driver, but his or her passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. In addition to texting, other high-risk behind-the-wheel activities include:
- Posting to social media
- Checking email
- Programming a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas-Ft. Worth distracted driving lawyer.
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