Families of distracted driving victims urge passage of state bill

Texas lawmakers are being urged to pass a bill that would ban texting and driving in the state.

Bill would make texting and driving a misdemeanor offense in Texas

Families that have lost loved ones due to texting and driving recently urged state lawmakers to pass a bill outlawing the dangerous practice, according to KVUE News. The proposed legislation would make texting and driving a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines of up to $200. Texas is one of just six states that does not currently ban texting and driving and the lack of such a prohibition, critics say, is contributing to a rise in traffic accidents in the state caused by driver inattention.

Proposed bill

The proposed law, called the Alex Brown Memorial Act, would make texting and driving punishable by a fine, similarly to current speeding and seat belt laws. For a first offense, the fine would range from $25 to $99, while subsequent violations would net offenders a fine of $100 to $200.

Banning texting and driving has been proposed before. In fact, this bill is the fourth time state lawmakers have debated a texting and driving prohibition. The legislator had previously passed a texting and driving ban before the bill was vetoed by then-Governor Rick Perry. Current Governor Greg Abbott has not indicated whether he would ultimately allow a texting and driving law to be passed into law.

Fatalities mounting

Families of victims who were killed in distracted driving accidents were at the Capitol recently to urge lawmakers to pass the bill. They noted that 44 other states already have at least some ban against texting and driving, while 14 states have banned all use of a hand-held device while driving.

According to the Dallas Morning News, driver distraction is taking an increasingly deadly toll on the state's roads and highways. Last year there were over 100,000 accidents in Texas caused by driver inattention or distraction, which was up from less than 84,000 in 2011. Those accidents caused 495 deaths in the state last year, at least 57 of which involved cellphone use. Safety experts caution, however, that the true extent of the lives lost due to texting and driving is likely underestimated since it can often be difficult to prove that a driver was on a phone at the time of a crash.

Motor vehicle collisions

While texting and driving may not yet be against the law throughout Texas, it is nonetheless a dangerous practice that makes driving hazardous for everybody else on the road. The lack of a law does not mean drivers are not responsible for the potentially dangerous decisions they make. For those people that have been injured by such careless drivers it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney today. A qualified and experienced attorney can provide the legal advocacy accident victims often need when trying to figure out what steps they should take following such a traumatic and painful event in their lives.

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