Most people would never, ever drive drunk. As we discussed in a blog post on drunk driving, we know all too well the trauma caused by careless drivers. But often, those same people don’t think twice about doing something that’s just as deadly. According to a study by Transport Research Laboratory, texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The study shows that drivers’ reaction times are reduced 35 percent when they’re texting (compared to a 12 percent decrease for people who are drinking and 21 percent for people high on marijuana).
A Texas Texting Accident Tragedy
A texting accident made headlines earlier this year when the driver of a pickup truck, 20-year-old Jack Dillon Young, of Leakey, Texas, collided head-on with a church bus. And while the driver apologized after the bus crash, admitting he had been texting while driving, his acknowledgement was of little comfort to the family and friends of the 13 people killed in the texting accident.
A horrified witness said he watched as the distracted driver crossed the center-line of the two lane highway several times. The witness called Uvalde County and Real County Sheriff’s Offices and told them “they needed to get him off the road before he hits somebody,” moments before the deadly texting accident.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was texting.’
I said, “Son, do you know what you just did?
He said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.’”
911 Calls from Driver Following Distracted Driver
Texas Lawmakers Address Texting Epidemic
Texting while driving is an epidemic–one in four auto accidents is caused by texting while driving, according to the National Safety Council. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly. And it’s got to stop, but that won’t happen until people change their attitudes toward this life-threatening practice. That’s why the Texas Senate made driving and texting illegal last month. Read on for more about the texting while driving ban and what it means for Texas drivers.
A Driving Culture Shift
Children of the 1970s (and earlier decades) remember the halcyon days of ignorance and bliss: parents smoked cigarettes while driving station wagons full of kids with no thought toward seat belts. Today, we know the importance of buckling up, among other things, and have reinforced that (and saved lives) with proper legislation.
When it comes to texting and driving, we’re still living in the past–at least as far as public attitudes go. The new measure (HB62) passed by the Texas Senate, and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, will hopefully deter people from texting and driving. However, a shift in our driving culture is still needed, one in which texting and driving is recognized as the public health threat that it is. The road to this measure’s passing has been a mostly uphill one: Rep. Tom Craddick and Texas Senator Judith Zaffirini fought for 10 long, frustrating years to ban texting and driving in Texas. Although more than 100 cities had banned texting and driving, there was no statewide law making the practice illegal–until recently.
The Carrot or the Stick?
People know they shouldn’t text and drive, but sometimes the immediate reward of social connection overrides their good judgement. That’s why this new measure adds a stick, or a punitive measure, to the equation. People who are caught texting and driving are subject to fines: $99 for a first offense and $200 for subsequent offenses.
It’s legal to text while parked, and other passengers are free to text as well. Although there are some concerns that the ban will be difficult to enforce, or that it might give police officers an excuse to pull people over, we believe it is a step in the right direction.
To Speaker Craddick, Senator Zaffirini and the dozens of families who have lost loved ones due to texting drivers, we thank you for your continued efforts in passing this new measure. It will change minds…and save lives.
Contact Shamieh Law
A texting and driving accident can cause serious injuries and possible death. Everyone involved in a texting accident clearly understands how totally frivolous, and completely avoidable, this type of accident can be.
While our hearts go out to the 20-year-old who sobbed, “I’m sorry,” apologies are not enough to make the realities surrounding a texting accident go away. An aggressive Dallas personal injury attorney helps you get back on your feet financially.