Distracted drivers are one of the biggest causes of car accidents in every state, and Texas is no exception. Distractions, especially those caused by electronic devices, are a factor in one out of every four car crashes, claiming 3,477 lives nationwide in 2015. Due to the potential dangers of using cell phones while driving, many states have adopted laws banning their use, and each violation can carry a variety of penalties.
Understanding Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
Although Texas does not have a texting ban for all drivers, there are statewide restrictions that prohibit or limit the use of cell phones while driving, including:
- Rules for novice drivers. Drivers who have learner's permits instead of full licenses are forbidden from composing, sending, or receiving text messages on their cell phones while driving. These drivers are also prohibited from using handheld electronic devices at any time within their first six months of driving. This is a primary law in Texas, meaning that a police officer is allowed to pull a driver over for the offense without needing any other reason for doing so.
- Laws for minors. Another primary law forbids drivers under 18 to use any wireless communication device while driving, including hands-free and hand-held cell phones.
- Rules for bus drivers. School bus drivers cannot use cell phones for calls, texting, or any other reason while operating a bus. This is also a primary law.
- Drivers in school zones. Drivers of all ages are forbidden to use hand-held cell phones for any reason while driving in a designated school zone.
- Local texting laws. Many Texas cities, including Nacogdoches, Jacksonville, Tomball, and others, have adopted additional cell phone laws. These distracted driving ordinances especially target texting while driving, with fines ranging from $200 to $500.
If you were struck by a driver who was texting or talking on a cell phone, we can review your case and determine whether you are eligible for compensation. Call us today or fill out the form on this page to have your claim evaluated by a Texas car accident attorney.