Cell Phone Laws In Texas

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Texas Cell Phone and Texting Laws

A growing danger to the roads in this day and age is the prevalence of cell phone use while driving. Distracted driving accounts for an alarming rise in accidents, from minor fender benders to severe injuries and even death. Because of this fact, cell phone and texting laws have been put into place nationwide, with Texas being one of 5 states with laws in place preventing minors from texting while driving.

Facts About Cell Phone Driving

In 2001, 22 crashes per week were caused by distracted driving. That tops the other front runners, with 18 crashes per week in Michigan and 14 per week in California. An Australian study determined that using a cell phone while driving makes it 4 times more likely that a driver will get into a collision. Similarly, a study performed in Utah found that driving while using a cell phone or texting had the equivalent effect as a person driving drunk.

Texas Cell Phone and Texting Laws

Many states have enacted a cell phone and texting ban, forbidding any driver from utilizing their cell phone without a hands-free device. Of those states that have yet to ban cell phones for all drivers, all states have strict regulations placed upon teen and young adult drivers in regards to their cell phone use. In Texas, all drivers under 18 have a ban in place, and drivers of all ages are forbidden from using their cell phones within school crossing zones. These same regulations apply to texting, as Texas has not yet enacted a state-wide texting ban for all-age drivers.

How Dangerous Is It?

Studies have shown that driving while talking or texting on a cell phone is the equivalent danger of a drunk driver. Distracted driving causes the driver to look away from the road, and concentrate on something other than the skills, decisions, and reactions required to drive safely. Even if the driver uses a hands-free device, their mind is still occupied upon the conversation at hand, and they are likely to experience what experts have called “inattention blindness,” or the tendency to look at things but not actually see or comprehend them. This form of tunnel vision is extremely dangerous, as drivers have been known to run red lights, change lanes directly into cars next to them, and other extremely simply and avoidable mistakes that could have been prevented simply by paying better attention.

Reducing the Cell Phone Habit

It is the driver’s responsibility to be the best and most responsible motorist they can be each and every time they get behind the wheel. You should make an effort to place your cell phone in a place where the temptation to use it will be far diminished – in a purse, under a jacket, somewhere out of sight and out of mind. If possible, place its ringer on silent or vibrate so that you’re less likely to hear it ring. If you absolutely must have access to your phone, use a hands-free device, but do so only when traffic is light and clear, and you have less of a chance of creating a hazard. Never carry on a conversation during rush hour or on busy highways – your attention should be on the road!

Passengers can make sure that their driver is being responsible as well. Your life is in your driver’s hands, so speak up if they are driving erratically or if you wish for them to not use a phone while you’re in the car. States are already supporting this by enacting the aforementioned bans and regulations, but it takes a community effort as a whole to save lives and keep our roads a pleasant place to be.

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