Distracted driving contributes to one in five Texas vehicle accidents, and cell phone use is one of the most common types of distracted driving. Unfortunately, poorly enforced cell phone and texting laws have a minimal impact on accident rates.
At Crosley Law Firm, we believe that Texas and San Antonio’s cell phones laws can help reduce the number of serious distracted driving injuries. We also recognize that people will still break the law — and no victim of a careless distracted driver should be responsible for the costs and damages associated with their injuries.
Below, we’ll explain what distracted driving laws currently exist and what you can do if you’ve been injured or lost a loved one because of someone else’s reckless distracted driving.
Texas’ Texting While Driving Laws
Compared to other states, Texas was slow to adopt cell phone use laws. The United States’ first cell phone law became effective in 2001 in New York. Today, Montana is the only state that does not have any type of cell phone or texting while driving law.
Texas’ first cell phone laws limited cell phone use by minors, bus drivers, and people driving in school crossing zones. In 2014, San Antonio passed a cell phone ordinance prohibiting drivers from using mobile phones (either for phone calls, texts, or other purposes) in any moving vehicle. Exceptions were made for mobile phones in hands-free mode or when affixed to a vehicle as a navigation system. The San Antonio ordinance imposes up to a $200 fine.
“The Texas law imposes up to a $99 fine for first-time offenders and up to a $200 fine for repeat offenders.”
On September 1, 2017, Texas banned drivers from reading, writing, or sending text or other electronic messages while operating a vehicle. The Texas law imposes up to a $99 fine for first-time offenders and up to a $200 fine for repeat offenders.
Distracted Driving Laws Prevent Some, But Not All, Car Accidents
We’re all incredibly reliant on our mobile devices, using them for communication, navigation, entertainment, and more. Even the most responsible drivers struggle to put down their phones and focus on the road — even if the law prohibits it.
Research shows that our dependence on phones exceeds our fear of the law. Laws and ordinances only cause modest reductions in the frequency of cell phone use while driving and the number of serious cell phone-related accidents. For example, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, texting bans only reduced crash-related hospitalizations by 7%.
This is particularly true of less-experienced teenage drivers. Studies suggest that teenagers are less likely to be discouraged by cell phone laws. Teenagers are also more likely to use social media and augmented reality apps while driving. For example, an 18-year-old Georgia driver lost control of her car while using a Snapchat speedometer filter. She was reportedly trying to reach 100 mph on the filter—and also “snapped” her ambulance ride after the accident.
However, studies suggest that strict enforcement of cell phone laws can reduce cell phone use while driving by 32% to 57%. Highly publicized enforcement actions and increased penalties help discourage drivers from using their cell phones. Similarly, publicizing cell phone-related personal injury lawsuits and verdicts may have a chilling effect on distracted driving.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt by a Distracted Driver?
At Crosley Law Firm, your safety is our top priority. After a car crash, you should seek immediate, necessary medical treatment for your injuries. If you do not need emergency medical care, you should safely document the circumstances surrounding your accident.
Evidence of the other driver’s cell phone use before or during a collision might strengthen your liability claims. If you know the at-fault driver was using a mobile device before or during your accident, report it to law enforcement. You should also identify witnesses who saw the driver using a cell phone. Finally, your San Antonio car accident lawyer can help you get copies of the driver’s cell phone records and data, which might confirm the driver’s phone use.
Get Your Free Ebook: 5 Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto Accident
Crosley Law Firm: Fighting for Crash Victims in San Antonio and Throughout Texas
At Crosley Law Firm, we see the devastating impact of cell phones firsthand. We know that looking away from the road for even a few seconds can have catastrophic results. It’s not uncommon for negligent drivers to deny cell phone use, only to be proven wrong by witnesses and their cell phone data. We work with car accident victims to identify distracted, at-fault drivers, and we fight to get them fair compensation for their injuries.
Capatides, C. (2016, April 27). Snapchat’s speed filter blamed for bloody crash. CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dangerous-snapchat-speed-filter-blamed-for-bloody-crash/.
Cellular phone use and texting while driving laws (2017, June 23). National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx.
Ferdinand, A., Menachemi, N., Blackburn, J., Sen, B., Nelson, L., & Morrisey, M. (2015, May). The impact of texting bans on motor vehicle crash-related hospitalizations. American Journal of Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4386499/.
McCartt, A., Kidd, D., & Teoh, E. (2014, March). Driver cellphone and texting bans in the United States: Evidence of effectiveness. Annals of Advanced Automotive Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4001674/.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
Related ArticlesView All Blog Articles
Who is at fault in a T-bone accident in Texas?Feb 02, 2024
If you have been involved in a T-bone car accident, read this blog to learn who could be at-fault and how Crosley Law can help.
Delayed Symptoms After a Car Accident Could Be a Sign of Serious InjuriesJan 26, 2024
Delayed injuries and delayed symptoms are extremely common after car accidents. Time after time, we’ve heard variations on the same story from our clients: “I thought I was doing okay in the hours after the crash, but the next morning I could hardly move due to my back and neck pain.” Later medical exams might […]
What Are Some Typical Car Accident Injury Settlement Amounts in Texas?Jan 24, 2024
One of the first questions most car accident victims ask is, “How much should I expect from my car accident settlement?” After a crash, you may be dealing with significant medical bills and lost wages—not to mention physical pain, emotional trauma, and stress about managing your personal affairs and relationships. Considering that the average car […]
Does Health Insurance Cover Car Accidents in Texas?Dec 13, 2023
After an auto accident, medical bills start to pile up quickly. Even if all you need is a quick trip to the emergency room and a couple follow-up appointments with a specialist, your medical expenses could still be enough to cause economic hardship. You may have heard that, in Texas, the at-fault driver is supposed […]
Quick Guide to Car Accident Face Injuries and Your Personal Injury ClaimDec 07, 2023
Facial trauma is an all-too-common yet often overlooked injury in San Antonio auto collisions. The head, face, and neck are all incredibly vulnerable in high-impact motor vehicle collisions. Whether from the initial impact, shattered glass, deployment of airbags, or being thrust into the interior of the vehicle, drivers and passengers frequently sustain painful and serious […]
Delayed Concussion Symptoms and Post-Concussion Syndrome Following a Motor Vehicle Crash: The Lingering ImpactJul 12, 2023
Concussions are among the most frequent injuries brought on by car accidents. Unfortunately, sometimes even “mild” concussions can have disastrous effects. While many people fully recover from their concussion, a significant percentage (roughly 15 to 20 percent) still experience persistent post-concussion symptoms months or even years after the initial head injury. And because concussion symptoms […]
How to Deal With a Private Investigator After a Car AccidentApr 21, 2023
After a car wreck, you may feel like your every move is being scrutinized. Unfortunately, it may not be just your imagination. If you notice an unfamiliar car parked in front of your home, school, or workplace; or if you receive a strange friend request on social media, a private investigator might be tracking your […]
What Is the Average Payout for a Rear-End Collision?Mar 13, 2023
You were stopped at a red light, minding your own business. Suddenly, a truck rear-ends you, pushing your car into the middle of an intersection. Now, you’re living with severe back pain and your doctors are suggesting surgery. Your car accident case is worth a lot of money, right? Maybe. The reality is, there’s no […]
Who Is at Fault in a Multi-Car Accident in Texas?Mar 09, 2023
After a multi-car accident, drivers and insurance companies often point fingers at each other, trying to shift blame to someone else. But if you suffered life-changing injuries, you deserve to know exactly what happened, which driver (or drivers) were responsible, and which liability insurance will pay for your medical bills and other damages. But getting […]
I’m Being Blamed for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault—What Should I Do?Feb 22, 2023
“My word against your word” scenarios happen all the time after auto accidents, especially when there are few other witnesses at the scene. Being accused of causing a car crash that wasn’t your fault can make you feel helpless and angry, especially when no one else is around to support your story. Getting blamed for […]
Do you or a family member
need legal advice?
Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death.