While Texas isn’t quite scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to traffic safety laws, they aren’t exactly performing at a level they could write home to brag about either.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety compared 15 different categories of traffic laws in all 50 states across the country in 2016, including Washington D.C., and found that a significant number of states had serious gaps in their enforcement laws.
“In the last two years we have experienced a sharp increase in traffic fatalities and a disturbing decrease in the number of state life-saving traffic safety laws,” says the organization’s president Jackie Gillan.
Only five states and Washington D.C. achieved a green rating according to their metrics: Rhode Island, Delaware, Washington, Louisiana, Oregon and the previously mentioned Washington D.C. According to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety:
“States must have 11 to 15 laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws, or 9 or more laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws and an all-rider helmet law, to achieve a green rating.”
Texas reportedly achieved high marks for their laws against drunk driving and laws protecting child passengers, but they are one of the few states that lacks a complete texting ban on drivers. While previous legislative sessions have opposed a statewide ban in the past, a new iteration is expected to be introduced sometime this year.
“We want governors involved and we want state lawmakers,” adds Gillan. “You can’t let these bills wind up in what I call legislative graveyards.”
As of 2017, the use of a wireless communication device while driving is illegal in the state of Texas. Operating a vehicle while using such a device is subject to a fine unless the vehicle is stopped. As an exception, an operator may be exempt if they are using the device in conjunction with a hands-free accessory, for navigation, or to report unlawful activity or summon help in an emergency. Depending on the context, legal repercussions may range from fines between $25 and $200, to jail time and up to $4,000 in fines in certain circumstances.
Distracted driving is a serious issue that claims the lives of thousands of Americans every year. Everyone needs to be aware of its dangers so we can work together towards reducing these tragedies through stricter anti-distracted driving regulations along with healthy conversations about road safety within our own families and communities too!
If you were seriously injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, contact our firm today - Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC - which has been representing injured victims for more than 30 years and have recovered billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients over that time. Call us to speak with one of our experienced attorneys or simply fill out our online form now if you'd like more information about your rights following an injury like this!