After the new law was implemented on 1st of September, it is now mandatory for individuals behind the wheel of a vehicle to put down their cell phones because texting while driving is banned now.
It clearly shows that a person can’t communicate through cell phone while driving. Any form of communication through cell phone is banned in every way, including social media. An individual can’t upload a status or use Facebook or any other social media website, can’t send Email or even a text message.
Under the new law, a cell phone can only be utilized while driving for tasks that don’t demand attention of eyes and can be done while paying attention to the road like playing music, operating a GPS, reporting a crime or seeking emergency help.
The rate of distracted driving accidents and fatalities has increased due to which law enforcement officers are alert and are ready to catch distracted drivers. 2 years back, the number of individuals who lost their lives due to distracted driving was 3,477, whereas 391,000 injuries were reported.
Individuals who are caught violating the law will have to face a misdemeanor charge and will have to pay between $25 to $99 as fine. Penalties for repeat offenders are harsh as well and the fine is also high. Individuals convicted of texting while driving as well as causing injury or death will have to pay the amount of $4,000 in fine and will also serve time in jail.
Many laws were implemented to stop individuals from texting behind the wheel, including laws to stop drivers less than 18 years from distracted driving. But now with the new law, individuals are not allowed to read and write messages on their cell phone. Communicating is allowed, but with the use of hands-free.
According to police Sgt. Vanessa Harrison, cops don’t want to tell how they determine if a person is using a cell phone for texting because “it gives the edge to the motorist.”
Police look for any signs similar to individuals driving impaired are seen for distracted drivers as well. City spokeswoman Betsy Deck said, “Driving slowly, weaving, quick adjustments within the lane, along with someone visibly looking at their phone.”
In Arlington, the law which banned texting and driving was implemented in 2012. Tickets were issued to 73 individuals that year and the rate decreased in 2015 to 56, but the rate increased in 2016 to 104.
A campaign with the name “Talk, Text, Crash” was started which was aimed at stopping motorists from distracted driving. 455 people died and more than 3,000 sustained life-threatening injuries in Texas in 2016. In Tarrant County, 22 deaths and 236 serious injuries happened which were higher back in 2010 with 415 deaths and 2,269 serious injuries.
A video is released with the name of “Arrive Alive” in Keller, which is aimed at making individuals aware of the new law.
Time has been given to motorists to get used to the new law. Cops may not investigate and check the cell phone of the person behind the wheel during traffic stops. But in case of an individual fighting the ticket, then their texting history will be checked.
According to director of governmental relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, Shannon Edmonds, “However, as a practical matter, that is almost never going to happen. Trying to obtain those records from wireless service providers by subpoena or warrant is often going to be more trouble than it’s worth for an offense carrying such a small fine.”
North Richland Hills’ Dee Davila-Estelle is one of the individuals who fought for this new law as she lost her 3 kids in a crash that happened 2 years back in 2015. They were riding in a 2011 Ford Fusion when a vehicle struck it from back by a distracted driver. She lost a 23-year-old and a 19-year-old kid in the accident. She added, “This law is so important. People need to understand what texting while you’re driving does. I still see people out there with their phones while they are driving. This is common sense. Put your phone down. Don’t drive with your phone in your face.” She said this law will assist in keeping people safe on the roads.
She wrote a letter in which she has shown her support for the law. The letter included, “I want people to know our story and learn from it. Having to bury loved ones, having to take care of loved ones, we are out here. It’s a true story and this is a great law for everyone to abide by.”
The person behind the ban, state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland said about the bill, “For a long time, Texas has needed this law to prevent the loss of life in unnecessary and preventable crashes and we finally have it.”
If there are individuals who are stressed thinking whether the cell phones of their loved ones are off during the drive, there are some apps and devices to know.
Here are some apps which can assist parents:
These apps are useful in saving lives of your loved ones as well as lives of others on the roads.
News Source: www.Star-Telegram.com