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Will a ban on texting while driving in Texas save lives?

Many people think they are experts at multi-tasking while driving. Too often a driver thinks nothing of texting while driving - after all they have done it a thousand times before without incident. The problem is it only takes one time for a serious car accident to change your or someone else's life in an instant. Just ask the mother of a young girl who lost control of her pickup truck while driving to school one day and rolled it, ending the young driver's life.

Texas already has a law that prohibits drivers under the age of 18 or those who have had their learners permit for less than six months from using cellphones or texting while driving. This law also applies to people who drive school buses. Now lawmakers want to pass new legislation called the Alex Brown Memorial Act that would ban emailing, reading or instant messaging or texting while driving throughout the state.

Currently 39 other states have passed similar legislation as have 28 different counties and municipalities in Texas, including Austin.

Just last year a federal law was passed that makes millions of dollars available to states that pass comprehensive bans on texting and other distracted driving laws. When you consider the average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for more than 4.5 seconds each time he or she reads or sends a text message, it really makes you think about the dangers. If you are driving 55 miles per hour down a highway and take your eyes off the road for just a few seconds you are driving the length of a football field while blind.

One supporter of the new law said that she lost her mother in a car crash involving a driver who was talking on a cellphone. Car accidents caused by distracted driving are much more prevalent than many people may think. A person who is texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get into a car accident than a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08, the legal limit to drive.

Anyone who is injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver can hold that driver accountable through a person injury claim. If a person is killed by a distracted or drunk driver surviving family members have the same right in the form of a wrongful death action.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Supporters of ban on texting while driving make their case at Texas Capitol," Karen Brooks harper, Jan. 29, 2013

Our Austin, Texas, personal injury law firm helps individuals and families who have been injured or killed due to car accidents caused by drunk or distracted drivers.

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