On Tuesday, May 6, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a measure (HB 62) that bans texting while driving across the entire state of Texas. This is the second time the bill has passed through the state legislature, but the first time being signed into law. While Texas has not previously implemented a state-wide ban on texting while driving, state laws do currently prevent texting in school zones.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “in any given daytime moment, about 660,000 drivers on the road are using electronic devices.” Of all distracted driving activities, texting is of the highest concern. “Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
To keep our streets safe, please always use your full attention while driving. Every time you take your eyes off the road or your mind off the task of driving, you are increasing your risk of crashing. Distracted driving can be fatal, nothing you are texting is as important as a life!
The law will go into effect on September 1, 2017. Help us fight against distracted driving by educating your friends and family. You can help make a difference and keep our streets safer.
- Drivers may not use a wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped.
- Punishable by a fine of $25-$99 for first time offenders, and $100-$200 for repeat offenders.
- If an accident caused by texting and driving results in the death of or serious bodily injury of another person, the driver can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year.
- 3,477 people killed by distracted driving in 2015
- 391,000 people were injured by distracted driving in 2015
- Individuals who drive while sending or reading text messages are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers
- Cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year that cause a half million injuries and take 6,000 lives
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Don’t Text & Drive; The United States Department of Transportation
Please don’t text or email while driving. It’s not that important.