Distracted Driving Laws Are Great — But People Keep Causing Crashes
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
How Much Is a Good Settlement for Nerve Damage After a Car Accident?May 27, 2022
Nerve damage is common after auto accidents. Nerves are sensitive, fragile tissues that can easily be pinched, compressed, crushed, or even severed in a serious accident—potentially leading to serious and lifelong physical and emotional distress. Unfortunately, pinched nerves and other injuries are not always immediately apparent following a crash, which can prevent car accident victims […]
Car vs. Pedestrian: Who Is at Fault for the Accident?May 10, 2022
No amount of money will erase the emotional trauma of being in a car crash as a pedestrian. However, fair compensation for your suffering and financial costs is one way you can begin to rebuild your life and find some closure. Securing that fair compensation might be more complicated than you’d expect, however—especially when you’re […]
Texas Personal Injury Law Changes: Texas Tort ReformApr 19, 2022
Unexpected accidents happen more frequently than most of us like to admit. Car wrecks, workplace injuries, even major trucking crashes occur every day. Often, these unexpected tragedies were preventable, if only someone had put down their phone while driving, promptly addressed a workplace safety issue, or performed their required duties. In the eyes of the […]
Can You Tear a Meniscus in a Car Accident?Feb 28, 2022
The knee is a fragile and complex part of the body that is prone to many different forms of injury during the sudden and powerful impact of a car accident. One of the many fragile parts of the knee is the meniscus, which commonly tears when suddenly twisted. Meniscus tears during car accidents are common […]
What Does a San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer Do?Feb 23, 2022
We have thousands of car accident lawyers across the country, yet many car accident victims, unfortunately, do not know what these lawyers actually do. As a result, victims go without help too often and end up cheated out of compensation by insurance companies. Hiring an attorney after an accident could make a huge difference between […]
Can I Get Punitive Damages in Texas After a Car Accident?Feb 16, 2022
Maybe you’ve heard of “punitive damages” as something that might be awarded by a court. However, punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, can seem like a myth — they’re fairly rare, and not many people who aren’t lawyers understand when and how courts award them. This blog article will explain what punitive damages are […]
How Much Is My Broken Wrist Worth After a Car Accident?Feb 10, 2022
You’ve suffered a wrist injury or broken wrist during a car accident, but what does that mean for you and your loved ones? You may be struggling with unpaid medical bills, lost income, and a lot of uncertainty, and it can be tempting to take a quick settlement from the insurance company. However, that’s probably […]
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?Feb 01, 2022
After a car wreck, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might offer you a quick settlement. They might even tell you that it’s not worth it to hire a San Antonio car accident attorney. It can be hard to decide what to do or where to turn to. You deserve compensation for your injuries, and the […]
Headache After Car Accident Trauma: Why It Won’t Go Away and What to Do NextJan 24, 2022
Post-traumatic headaches after a car accident usually resolve after a few months. However, a surprising number of crash victims experience chronic headaches for years after their wreck. Unfortunately, insurance companies are skeptical of people who claim ongoing, disabling headaches—and sometimes deny legitimate claims. In this article, the traumatic brain injury (TBI) lawyers at Crosley Law […]
Bartender Liability Laws: Are Bars and Restaurants Responsible for Overserving Drunk Drivers?Jan 12, 2022
Drunk driving is a growing problem in Texas. Every year, alcohol-related crashes resulted in around 1,000 deaths and more than 13,000 injuries. While most people focus their attention on the drunk driver, there’s another recovery option that many injured by drunk driving don’t think about — dram shop liability. Under Texas law, bars and restaurants that […]
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. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.