Can You Go to Jail for Texting and Driving in Texas?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving is “the most alarming” form of distracted driving, taking a driver’s attention from the road for an average of five seconds. That may not seem like a lot, but it is enough time to cover some serious distance when traveling at high speeds. For this reason, Texas has started to take texting while driving much more seriously, passing House Bill 62 in 2017 and effectively criminalizing the practice. Under the bill’s direction, a person can be given a jail sentence if they text while driving and end up injuring or fatally wounding someone as a result of their negligence.
Unless you cause a significant crash, though, you will face a penalty that is less serious than jail time (but still enough to cause the average person to think twice about texting while behind the wheel). Depending on whether this is your first time, and the severity of the incident, you can face a fine from anywhere between $25 and $200 for the simple act of texting while driving.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
The harsh penalties are not without cause. As the NHTSA points out, texting and driving can make a driver lose track of the road for the equivalent of a regulation football field! An organization designed to bring more awareness to the issue, End Distracted Driving, describes the harm that texting can do in the following three ways.
Texting Takes My Hands Away From the Wheel
First, texting is a form of manual distraction. It causes you to remove at least one hand from your steering wheel in order to hold your cellphone and text your message. This greatly reduces your ability to react to changing stimuli from the road, such as cars suddenly switching lanes, sharp curves in the road, or your exit approaching.
Texting Takes My Eyes Away From the Road
Secondly, you have to move your visual field away from the road when texting or reading a text. Obviously, this means that you are not aware of what is happening on the road for at least a second or so, with the NHTSA estimating that texting can take your eyes from the road for roughly five seconds.
Texting Takes My Mind Off the Road
Finally, texting is also a form of cognitive distraction. This means that the act of texting or receiving a message shifts your attention to the content of the text rather than on your driving responsibilities. You stop keeping track of road conditions when your mind is more focused on texting.
The upside of all this is that texting while driving is one of the worst forms of distracted driving because it embodies all three major forms of distraction. That is why Texas has started penalizing the practice more intensely, with up to a year in jail for causing serious injuries while texting and driving.
How I Can Recover Compensation When I Am Injured
If you are injured in a car wreck due to someone else texting and driving, you may be able to recover significant compensation. Work with the skilled car accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins to build the best possible case.
Attorneys Can Compile Necessary Evidence For Me
One way that a texting and driving car crash lawyer can help you is by gathering and preserving evidence in support of your claim. Some of the evidence we have used in the past for previous clients include the following.
- Cell phone records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Police crash reports
- Surveillance or traffic camera footage
- Accident reconstructionist testimony
- Medical records
Gathering such evidence is important both to establish the value of your damages and to show that the other driver carries all or most of the fault for your accident.
Attorneys Can Help Me Prove the Other Driver’s Fault
Since Texas uses a system of proportionate responsibility, it is vital that your car accident law firm work to prove the other driver’s fault. The system allows you to recover compensation, but only if you are no more than 50% responsible for the accident. So, you can only get compensation if you can show that the other driver has more fault.
Secondly, the system used in Texas reduces the amount of compensation you can receive in direct proportion to the amount of fault attributed to you. For example, your compensation will be reduced by 25% if you are found to be 25% responsible for the accident. By working with a knowledgeable attorney, you can reduce your portion of blame and effectively increase the amount of money you are able to recover in your texting and driving accident.
I Can Meet With Attorneys For FREE
Pintas & Mullins offers all clients a FREE consultation to discuss the merits of each case that comes our way. By working on a contingency basis, we also do not get paid unless you get paid! Take the financial worry out of pursuing a lawsuit by calling us today at 214-305-8277 or filling out the form on our contact page.