Since cars were invented drivers have been engaging in some form of distracted driving. From talking to passengers, to lighting up cigarettes, to handling crying children in the backseat, to eating and drinking, to reading maps, and everything in between – distracted driving is all too common.
But since cell phones and more importantly, texting, arrived on the scene, things took a grave turn for the worse. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,450 lives in 2016 alone.” But what does it mean to “drive distracted”? It means to engage in any activity while driving that takes your attention away from the task of driving.
This can be just about anything like fumbling through your purse or gym bag, giving your baby a toy in the back, or texting while driving. Of all forms of distraction, texting while driving is #1 on the list as the WORST form of distraction because it takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off of driving.
Texas’ Law on Texting While Driving
Texas was years behind some other states when it came to its statewide ban on texting while driving. While some Texas cities took matters into their own hands and banned texting while driving within their city limits, it became officially illegal on September 1, 2017 across the State of Texas.
“One in five crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We are pleased the Texas Legislature recognizes the extreme danger caused by texting and driving. The new law sends a very clear message to Texans to put down their phones and focus on the road. We are hopeful this new law will help save lives and reduce injuries.”
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in 2016, there were nearly 111,000 crashes in Texas involving distracted driving, resulting in 3,087 serious injuries and 455 deaths, but the new law will hopefully reduce those numbers. Under the state’s anti-texting while driving law, a first offense is punishable by up to a $99 fine and a second offense is punishable by up to a $200 fine.
Related: Drowsy Driving Kills!