This year, Texas again failed to pass a statewide ban preventing all drivers from texting while driving. Despite repeated efforts to get such a law on the books, and despite KXAN reporting that 85 percent of Texans thinking texting and driving should be illegal, the Governor has vetoed bills in the past and lawmakers were not able to get a law on the books again in the most recent legislative session.
Our Galveston car accident lawyers know that texting is one of the riskiest behaviors behind the wheel, with texting drivers as much as 23 times more likely to be involved in a car wreck than those paying attention. The failure on the part of Texas lawmakers to pass a ban, therefore, potentially puts motorists throughout the Lone Star State at risk. Yet, even as Texas was unsuccessful at taking this step to fight distracted driving, the Governors' Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released a report indicating that states across the country are stepping up to fight distracted driving.
GHSA Takes a Look at State Efforts to Combat Distracted Driving Dangers
According to a GHSA news release, a new report has been prepared that takes a close look at what states have done since 2010 on the issue of distracted driving. The report is called the 2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States, and it reveals that:
- More states than ever before have enacted laws on distracted driving. Forty-seven states and Washington D.C. now have at least limited prohibitions on certain forms of distracted driving. Forty-one of the states have a ban on texting by all drivers, as compared with just 28 states with such a ban on 2010. This makes Texas as one of a very small minority of states that still does not prohibit texting behind the wheel.
- States are increasing enforcement efforts. Since 2010, states have devoted significantly more resources to curbing distracted driving, with law enforcement in almost every state being more proactive in enforcing distracted driving laws. States have also been more active in participating in targeted events such as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. However, law enforcement faces challenges in jurisdictions that have age-specific texting bans.
- States are focusing on educating teens about the dangers of distracted driving. There has been a 22 percent increase in states offering educational material targeted at teens and their parents. Now, there are a total of 27 states and D.C. making this type of material available.
All of this is good news since these actions can help reduce distracted driving deaths on a national level. Of course, for those who live in Texas, it can be discouraging to see so much progress throughout the U.S. while knowing that lawmakers here are unable to get a ban in place.
There was, however, some good news for Texas. The GHSA named the state as one of just four that is working with affiliates of the National Safety Council to fight distracted driving through public/private partnerships. Texas, California, Minnesota and Nebraska are all working together with NSC affiliates to provide technology-use policies and educational material to major employers.
While Texas has a long way to go to be serious about fighting distracted driving, at least efforts are being made to curb this dangerous problem.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Hagood & Neumann at (800) 632-9404. Offices in Houston and Galveston.