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Texting While Driving Law Change in Texas

Texting While Driving Law Change in Texas

Texting While Driving Law Change in Texas 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Q: Will the new texting while driving law reduce accidents and personal injury claims?

Texas car accidents can be caused by a number of factors including driving while intoxicated, speeding, aggressive driving, weather conditions, mechanical defects, and more.

Car accidents caused by a driver’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions often leave seriously injured, disabled, or dead victims in their wake and are often the basis of a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death action.

Once liability is established, car accident victims may be entitled to compensatory damages including past and future medical bills for treatment or rehabilitation, past and future mental anguish and physical pain, Physical impairment or disfigurement, past and future loss of income and loss of earning capacity. If the victim dies from their injuries, their closest surviving family members may be entitled to damages as well through a wrongful death lawsuit, but who has standing to sue and the type of damages they can recover differs on a case-by-case basis so consulting a skilled personal injury attorney is advised.

Another common cause of motor vehicle accidents is distracted driving. And one of the biggest distractions is texting while driving.

In an effort to discourage texting while driving, new legislation went into effect on September 1, 2017. The new law, reportedly described by its own co-author as “something is better than nothing” has its share of loopholes.

According to the law, drivers are reportedly permitted to:

  • make and receive phone calls in accordance with local laws
  • use navigation applications
  • use music applications.

Reported ambiguities surround the unaddressed use of “internet browsers, search functions, gaming, or other phone applications, although “the use of messaging and communications applications like Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Twitter appear to be prohibited”.

With respect to texting while driving, the new law offers reportedly some exemptions including:

  • texting during emergency situations (though it doesn’t define what constitutes an “emergency”)
  • workers texting the office so long as their phones are mounted
  • on-duty emergency vehicle operators are exempt
  • on-duty law enforcement vehicle operators are exempt
  • hands free texting is allowed.

These loophole defenses, coupled with the mandate that ticketing officers “must not only witness offenders using their phones, but identify that the activity is specifically texting” will make the new law difficult to enforce.

Of course, the safest way to avoid being distracted or being accused of causing a motor vehicle accident is to avoid cell phone distractions entirely.

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, the lawyers at Chandler, Mathis, and Zivley, PC will investigate your case and take legal action to help you obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. Contact our office for a free consultation.

From our offices in Houston and Lufkin, we’ve been serving clients throughout Texas as well as many other states for over 40 years.