IT’S NOW AGAINST THE LAW!
There’s a new, state-wide ban on texting and driving. What does this mean to you? Hopefully, you are well aware of the dangers of distracted driving and never text and drive. But if you occasionally use your cellphone to read, text, and even type coordinates into your GPS while driving, here’s what you need to know.
First, with the new law, it’s not illegal to use your cellphone for GPS navigation, music apps, and dialing phone numbers, but if a police officer thinks you are texting, he or she will pull you over. Officers will be looking for drivers whose heads are down and who are swerving, so keep your head up and your hands on the wheel.
What if you’re sitting at a red light? It’s not an offence under the new law to be reading or texting while stopped because you’re not operating a moving vehicle. But there are still hazards involved because you may not see when the light turns green, and other drivers who are expecting you to move could plow into you. In addition, if you continue your texting as you enter the intersection, officers will pull you over.
The fine for a first offence of texting while driving is up to $99.00. Once you have a conviction for breaking the new law, the fine goes up to as much as $200.00. In addition, if you cause an accident while texting and driving that results in death or serious bodily injury to another person, you face a Class A misdemeanor charge that is punishable by a fine of up to $4,000.00 and jail time of up to one year. You should also be aware that at least 45 cities in the state of Texas; including Hurst, Lake Dallas, Little Elm, and Denton; have laws banning the use of any hand-held communication devices while driving—and those laws will still be strictly enforced. And remember, the use of hand-held communication devices in school zones is illegal in every Texas city.
Here at Accident and Injury Chiropractic, we’ve felt it was important to remind drivers of the dangers of driving while distracted—especially driving while texting. Now the risk of a fine—and possible jail time—can be added to the equation. So, what can you do? Your best option is to use hands-free technology. All the laws concerning the use of wireless communication devices while driving allow for the use of hands-free options (unless you are a driver under the age of 18). Get a Bluetooth headset or use a dictation app on your phone that types out your spoken words. Just don’t use your hands to correct any mistyping made by the app. That is still considered texting and driving.
And remember, if you are in an accident, come to the nearest Accident and Injury office near you. We’ll help you get back to driving again as quickly as possible—hopefully with your head up and your hands on the wheel!