When drivers aren’t focusing their full attention on the road, accidents are bound to happen. In 2016, 109,658 traffic crashes in Texas involved distracted driving.
Here are examples of some situations that may count as distracted driving and the potential penalties an offender could face for them.
Any activity a motorist does while driving that is not related to operating the vehicle could be considered distracting driving.
For example, engaging in any of the following activities could be considered distracted driving:
- Talking to passengers
- Using a cellphone to read, write and/or send a message
- Making adjustments to music
- Putting on or removing a layer of clothing
- Using mirrors for purposes other than driving
- Applying deodorant, cosmetics, sunscreen, bug spray or perfume
For those under 18 years of age, Texas bans all cell phone use while driving, including using hands-free technology.
School bus operators are also prohibited from using cell phones while driving for any reason (except in emergencies) if children are present.
Penalties for distracted driving could include:
- A traffic citation
- An increase in car insurance
- A fine up to $99 (first offense)
- A fine up to $200 (subsequent offenses)
- A fine up to $4,000 and jail time if the incident causes serious injury or death to others
Exceptions may include circumstances where emergency communication is required or the vehicle is in park.
Drivers who are 18 years or older and are not operating a school bus with children present may use cellphones to play music or operate a GPS. However, in an accident that involves damage to another party’s person or property, a driver may still face claims of negligence for using a cellphone.
If you believe you have suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, contact an attorney to talk about filing a personal injury claim.