Study: Texting-while-driving laws prevent traffic deaths

According to a recent study headed by a Texas A&M professor, primary laws prohibiting texting while driving prevent roughly 19 fatalities every year in states that have enacted such bans. Sadly, however, Texas is still not among these states.

The conclusions of this particular study were reached after Alva Ferdinand - an assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science School of Public Health - and her co-researchers examined data pertaining to fatal car accidents that occurred between the years of 2000 and 2010 in 48 different states.

Interestingly, the researchers discovered that in states that have made texting while driving a primary offense - meaning police can pull over drivers for texting without another reason - there was a 3 percent decrease in traffic fatalities for all age groups. According to Ferdinand, this drop translates to an average of 19 fatalities prevented annually in each state.

Current texting-while-driving laws in Texas

As mentioned above, Texas lawmakers still have yet to pass blanket restrictions on texting for all drivers in the Lone Star State, despite the fact that the vast majority of states have already done so. However, even though there is no broad prohibition, Texas law does ban texting while driving in very specific situations. For instance, these limited restrictions include:

  • Drivers operating motor vehicles in school crossing zones cannot use their hand-held cellphones to text or talk
  • Bus drivers may not use their cellphones to text or talk when they have minor passengers on their buses, unless the buses are stopped
  • Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use their cellphones to text or talk while driving motor vehicles

Fortunately, the recent Texas A&M study found that texting bans placed upon young drivers are one of the most effective ways to reduce traffic deaths for that age group, and, as indicated above, Texas has such a ban. However, lawmakers still have a long way to go if they want to eradicate distracted driving from Texas roads. Indeed, even with limited texting bans in place, 460 people were killed on Texas roadways in 2013 in accidents involving distracted driving, according to TxDOT.

Legal recourse may still be available

However, even though texting while driving may not be illegal in every circumstance in Texas, that does not mean drivers cannot be held accountable if their texting habits injure other motorists on the road. In fact, if a driver harms another due to his or her negligent use of a cellphone, it is quite possible that the victim will be able to pursue damages against the driver in Texas civil court.

Accordingly, if you are the victim of a distracted driving accident caused by another texting driver, it is important for you to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible in order to learn what your rights and options may be. A knowledgeable attorney can help investigate the circumstances of your accident and assist in holding responsible parties liable for their negligent and careless acts.