Most of us are aware of the dangers distracted driving causes on the road. It is estimated that one in five accidents are caused by distractions.
However, what the law specifies as "distracted driving" varies state to state, and in Texas it even varies city to city.
Texting while driving
Last year, Texas banned texting while driving across the state. The law specifically prohibits reading, writing or sending electronic messages behind the wheel. A first offense can incur a fine up to $99 and subsequent offenses are a maximum of $200.
One reason Texas passed this law is the high number of accidents caused by distracted driving. In 2016, 109,658 Texas crashes were at least partly due to distractions, which led to 455 deaths and 3,037 injuries.
Other distractions not regulated across the state
However, other distractions such as talking on the phone, using a GPS, eating, drinking, road rage and more are not prohibited. These distractions can still cause an accident that leads to serious injury or death.
Some local areas have passed stricter ordinances on their own. These ordinances completely limit any cell phone use while driving. Austin is one of them, but other nearby small and large cities such as Round Rock, Georgetown, Waco and Houston do not have the same restrictions.
As a result, not all drivers coming to the city are familiar with the additional restrictions and their ignorance could cause an accident. While these actions are not illegal, they still put you at risk of injury and you deserve to be compensated for any medical care you may need as a result.