Almost every state in the union has added texting to the list of unlawful acts when someone is driving. While distracted driving was once commonly acceptable in traditional forms such as eating while in transit or even talking to passengers while driving, the advent of cell phones and other electronic distractions has forced legislative bodies to take action. Auto accident statistics over the past few decades have shown that many collisions were caused because a driver was talking or texting on a phone, the latter of which being the most common. For this primary reason, the state of Texas has acted by outlawing the practice.
Determining fault in a Texas auto accident
All motor vehicle accidents in Texas are decided by comparative negligence when fault is being determined. The actions of each driver at the time of the mishap are the determining factors, and texting is often the activity that results in the assignment of most liability. Additionally, it is now a misdemeanor criminal matter beyond liability for an accident that can generate a criminal record. It is not merely a traffic offense.
Potential fines and consequences
Being charged with texting while driving when no accident is involved is assuredly a much lesser charge than with a subsequent auto accident. First offenders are typically charged with a $25 to $99 fine with multiple offenders being fined as much as $200. Court costs are also applied in addition, which can make the total cost significantly higher. However, those who are texting at the time of an accident can be fined up to $4000 if convicted.
A conviction also can have a negative impact on a defendant’s driving record that in turn will more than likely generate an increase in insurance premiums, and especially when involved in a collision of any type. Law enforcement and legislators alike are very serious about the charges, and drivers in Texas should be well aware.