Houston Texting While Driving Lawyer
Texting while driving is illegal in Texas. But despite the ban, 1 in 5 car accidents in the state still involve distracted drivers — many of whom are using cell phones to read and send text messages behind the wheel.
Research shows that it takes approximately five seconds to read a text. But taking your eyes off the road for those short moments is enough for a vehicle traveling 55 miles per hour to cross the length of an entire football field. That’s more than enough time to a cause a serious car accident that results in severe injuries or even death.
Texas personal injury laws allow people who have been injured by a texting driver to pursue compensation for their losses. This includes money for medical expenses, missed wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering and other damages.
However, it is not always easy to obtain compensation from someone who was texting while driving. Injury claims are scrutinized carefully by insurance companies who will stop at nothing to keep victims from receiving a fair payout.
The Houston texting while driving attorneys at The Seerden Law Firm know what it takes to build a solid claim for compensation. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, our car accident lawyers will conduct a detailed investigation to find out what happened and who is responsible.
Contact us today to discuss your legal options in a free consultation.
Houston Texting While Driving Laws
In 2017, Texas became the 47th state in the U.S. to ban texting while driving. Many cities in the Lone Star State had already passed local ordinances prohibiting texting and cell phone use by drivers.
The Texas law states that:
- Sending electronic messages (e.g., texts, emails, etc.) while driving is prohibited.
- Drivers with learner’s permits cannot use a handheld cell phone during the first six months of driving.
- Those under 18 cannot use wireless devices while driving.
- School bus drivers are not allowed to use electronic devices if children are present.
- All drivers are forbidden from texting or using handheld devices in school zones.
Within the first 90 days of the law being enacted, 172 tickets were given to motorists who were texting while driving in Houston.
While that number may seem small, the severity of the problem cannot be underestimated. The state Department of Transportation found that 95,572 crashes in Texas in a recent year were the result of distracted driving (including cell phone use). In those crashes, 398 people died and 2,340 suffered serious injuries.
Dangers of Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving takes three forms:
- Visual: Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes of the road
- Manual: Anything that requires a driver to take his/her hand off the steering wheel
- Cognitive: Activities that require thinking about something other than driving
Texting includes all three forms of distraction. Drivers read a text (visual distraction), type a message (manual distraction) and think about what they want to say (cognitive distraction). With all three distractions are happening simultaneously, it’s a quick and easy recipe for a devastating car accident.
The Facts About Texting While Driving
It’s important to remember that texting behind the wheel is not the only form of distracted driving. Other examples include:
- Talking on the phone (even with hands-free devices)
- Using a GPS
- Eating or drinking
- Personal grooming
- Changing the radio station or climate controls
- Talking with other passengers
- Reaching into the back seat to hand a child a fallen toy
The NHTSA reports that all of these distractions accounted for nearly 20,000 deaths on U.S. roads during a single five-year period. That does not include the thousands of more who have been seriously injured in crashes involving distracted drivers.
Penalties for Texting Drivers in Texas
The ban on texting while driving in Texas has been criticized for not being easily enforceable by law enforcement officers.
For example, drivers cannot be ticketed unless they admit to texting while driving or an officer directly observes them doing it. Also, an officer cannot seize the phone and check its history without probable cause.
The fines for texting while driving range from $25 to $200 depending on the number of offenses. If a texting driver caused an accident that led to injuries or death, they could face a $4,000 fine and up to 7 years in jail.
Keep in mind that the above are only criminal penalties. At The Seerden Law Firm, we handle civil claims for victims of accidents caused by texting drivers.
Civil claims enable crash victims to demand rightful compensation for losses stemming from the accident that injured them. Many people who are hurt in car accidents involving a texting driver are saddled with costly medical bills and an uncertain promise for a full recovery. In those cases, the experienced Houston attorneys at The Seerden Law Firm can step in to fight for maximum compensation for your injuries.
How The Seerden Law Firm Can Help
Winning a personal injury claim hinges on proving that the other driver was negligent. Simply put, it means showing that:
- The driver had a responsibility to operate his or her vehicle safely on the road.
- He or she breached that duty by texting while driving.
- That violation directly caused injuries losses to you.
- These losses should be paid back to “make you whole” again.
How will our Houston car accident attorneys prove negligence? By doing what we do best. We will:
- Launch a thorough investigation into your claim, collecting medical records and subpoenaing the at-fault driver’s phone records to show that he or she was texting at the time of the crash
- Put a fair value on your claim and insist on compensation that fully reflects the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life
- Negotiate fiercely on your behalf during settlement talks
- Fight for you at trial, if the case proceeds to that point
When you work with The Seerden Firm, you will know that you’re more than just another case to us. We provide personalized, compassionate legal services to every client, all the time.
To learn more about how we can help, call or contact our skilled Houston attorneys today or check our car accident faqs to learn more.