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Texting and Driving in Texas—Distracted Driving

Texting and Driving in Texas—Distracted Driving

I was driving down Interstate 30 this past weekend coming home from a weekend trip.  I noticed an 18-wheeler in the right-hand lane having trouble staying in his lane.  At first, I thought it was due to the wind which was blowing pretty hard.  However, as I passed the tractor-trailer, I could see the driver was looking at his cell phone while he was driving.  He was having a hard time staying in his lane because he was looking at his phone, not the roadway.

The law regarding 18-wheeler drivers texting and driving

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation implemented a law that drivers of interstate commercial motor vehicles were prohibited from using cell phones during the operation of their vehicle.  As the Secretary of Transportation at the time said, “When drivers of large trucks, buses, and hazardous material taken their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome ban be deadly.”

Statistics on texting and driving

Nearly one in five crashes on Texas roads in 2020 were caused by a distracted driver. In those collisions, 367 people died and 2,205 were seriously injured in Texas.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said 3,142 people were killed in the United States in 2020 by distracted drivers.  Sending or receiving a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds.  If you are traveling down the road at 55 mph, it’s like driving an entire football field with your eyes closed!

Laws in Texas on texting and driving

In Texas,

  • A person cannot read, write, or send text messages while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped;
    • This does not prohibit talking on a cell phone;
  • A person cannot use a cell phone (text or voice) in a school zone when the school zone is in effect unless their vehicle is stopped or they are using a hands-free device;
  • A school bus driver is prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a school bus;
  • Drivers with learner’s permit are prohibited from using cell phones in the first 6 months of driving; and
  • Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving.

If you need to text, pull over and send that text.  With the advent of Bluetooth technology, there is no reason for you to take your eyes off the road to read or send a text.  Don’t become a statistic by texting and driving.