Ban on Texting While Driving Slowly Spreading Across Texas, City by City

Law Firm Newswire



Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) November 25, 2015 – Slowly, a ban on texting while driving is spreading across Texas. One city at a time, but it should soon be statewide.

Yet another city has joined forces with Arlington and Austin in the battle to stop distracted driving. Sweetwater city administration banned texting while driving.

Figures released by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) indicate over 100,000 accidents were caused by distracted driving in 2014. Over 400 of those collisions were fatal.

According to the new offense, detailed in Section 19-111 of Sweetwater’s Code of Ordinances: “It is unlawful and a person commits an offense . . . while using a handheld wireless communication device to send, read or write a text message and/or email, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, engages in gaming, or any other use of a handheld wireless communication device with the exception of initiating, answering, conducting or terminating a telephone call while operating a motor vehicle within the city limits.”

“While a step in the right direction, the ordinance may still permit, according to the wording, talking on mobile devices, which is not only deadly, but part and parcel of distracted driving,” said Austin personal injury attorney, Bobby Lee, of law firm Lee, Gober & Reyna.

When someone is behind the wheel of a vehicle, they need to be paying attention to the road, not an iPhone, GPS, laptop or other wireless device. A driver taking his or her eyes off the road for even a split second can cause an injury accident or fatality. No conversation, whether via text or verbally, is worth losing a life or taking the life of another. Getting caught texting while driving may result in a $200 fine.

The new Sweetwater ordinance does have other exceptions, such as those parked in a legal parking spot may use their mobile device, and on-duty police and other emergency vehicles may as well, so long as they have a legitimate reason for doing so.

“Texting while driving is a no-brainer, as is talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Do not do it. Your life and the life of others depend on you using your common sense. If you don’t think it could happen to you, just check the death statistics,” said Lee.

To learn more, visit Lee, Gober & Reyna 11940 Jollyville Road #220-S Austin, Texas 78759 Phone: 512.478.8080
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