Push for a Universal Ban on Using Mobile Device While Driving in Texas
Written by Greg on May 7, 2017
Each day, about eight people are killed and almost 1,200 people are injured because of distracted drivers in the United States.
In many cases, the injuries sustained by people in a distracted driving accident are serious. The most common type of accident-causing distraction is using a mobile device, and doing something like texting while driving.
A catastrophic accident involving a pickup truck driver and a bus filled with members of a Texas church returning from a retreat has lead for renewed calls for a statewide ban on texting, and otherwise using mobile devices while operating a car.
The driver of the pickup truck allegedly admitted he was texting at the time of the accident. In fact, another motorist stated that he saw the pickup truck operator texting and driving erratically immediately before the collision with the church bus. All but one person on the church bus was killed. The pickup driver was injured, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
The Current State of Texas Law Regarding Driving and Texting and Using a Mobile Device
At the present time, there is no statewide law on the books prohibiting texting and driving, or otherwise using a mobile device while operating an automobile in Texas. There are ordinances in a growing number of cities across the Lone Star State prohibiting texting and driving and similar activities with a mobile device.
The accident involving the texting pickup driver and the church bus occurred outside any city limits. There was no ordinance making the conduct of the pickup driver illegal.
The Texas Legislature Takes Up the Issue- AGAIN!
In March, the Texas House of Representative passed a bill banning texting and driving across the state. The legislation is now pending in the Senate. If passed by the Senate, the legislation would go to the Governor for signature or veto. The number of times a state-wide ban on texting and driving have been discussed but not signed into law can’t easily be counted.
At the present time, Texas is one of only a few remaining states that does not have a statewide, universal ban on texting and driving and otherwise using a mobile device. Currently, the legislature in Texas has passed a statewide texting while driving ban– but it’s up to the governor to sign it into law.
Civil Lawsuits in Texting While Driving Cases
Although there is no universal law in Texas prohibiting texting while driving, a person injured by a negligent texting driver can pursue a claim for civil damages, including filing a lawsuit.
Similarly, certain family members killed by a texting driving can pursue what is known as a wrongful death case.
Also, in some cases, a personal injury attorney may seek to recover punitive damages for texting while driving accidents.
UPDATE June 7, 2017
Texas has done it- FINALLY!
I am pleased to report that Texas governor Greg Abbott signed HB 62 into law on June 6, 2017. The new law will take effect September 1.