A recent Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) study shows drivers who are texting are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who aren’t texting. The study also shows drivers increase risk of a crash by reading (3.4%), applying makeup (3.1%), dialing handheld device (2.8%), or talking on a handheld device (1.3%). The study doesn’t directly compare texting while driving to driving while intoxicated.
VTTI’s information release can be found here.
Texting while driving is illegal in 18 states and the District of Columbia. In Texas, texting is illegal while driving for teenagers. Also handheld devices cannot be used in school zones by anyone. Some Texas cities are looking at passing local ordinances that could try broaden that law. Those offenses are class c misdemeanors punishable by a $500 fine.
Currently Texas Transportation Code 545.401 covers reckless driving defined as driving with willful and wanton disregard for public safety. That offense could conceivably cover texting while driving and is a “hybrid” offense punishable by a $200 fine but up to 30 days jail.
Jeremy F. Rosenthal, Esq.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about your specific situation you should consult an attorney.