Texting and driving is now illegal in Texas

As of Sept. 1, 2017, texting and driving is now illegal in Texas.

Texting while driving in Texas became illegal on September 1, ending a decade-long battle in the state legislature to pass the ban. Safety advocates supported the move as a means to reduce potentially deadly driver distractions on the road. Those opposed – including former governor Rick Perry – opposed the measure as an invasion of privacy.

Safety advocates finally prevailed. Texas became one of the last states in the nation to adopt some kind of texting while driving ban, leaving only Arizona, Missouri and Montana without such a ban.

Violation of the ban carries a fine of up to $99 for the first offense and $200 for repeat offenses. The state law covers texting with hand-held phones only, whether sending or reading. Use of phones for navigation or to listen to music is allowed.

Research in the United States reveals that four out of five college-age drivers have sent or received text messages while driving, despite the fact that the majority recognize it as a risk. It also found that male drivers are more likely to text while driving and say they consider themselves better drivers than others, so they are less likely to endanger themselves or others.

Another survey reported at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, nearly 43 percent of high school aged drivers who were surveyed reported texting while driving at least once in the past 30 days. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. Texting while driving has been found to raise the risk of a crash by 23 times.

Some earlier studies even suggest that texting while driving is on a par with driving while intoxicated with alcohol. There are other studies showing that it slows a driver’s reaction times more than being drunk.

Texting and driving is not just a problem among young people. The National Safety Council reports that, while there are around ten million teen drivers, there are about 180 million adult drivers. In a survey conducted by AT&T, almost half of all adults admit to texting while driving.

About 98% of adults surveyed admit they know it’s wrong, and 60% say they were not texting three years ago. It has become a national epidemic. But you don’t text and drive, so you won’t get a ticket; you don’t drive while distracted. Why is it such a big deal?

Distracted drivers can veer out of their lanes into your car traveling in the opposite direction. They can run into the back of your vehicle. Because someone you love can lose control of their vehicle, run into a tree or flip their car; they can lose their life or kill someone you care about.

It is every driver’s problems. We at Lost Pines Toyota need your help to spread the word. Please, don’t text and drive.

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