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Is it time for Texas to outlaw texting while driving?

As you made your way to work or school this morning, there's a good chance you observed at least a few of the drivers around you talking, texting or just not paying attention to the road. Indeed, the unfortunate reality is that you've probably become accustomed to witnessing this kind of behavior and, knowing there is little you can do, just started driving even more defensively.

As discouraging as this is, those good drivers out there can take some comfort in the fact that April has been designated National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This means that safety advocacy groups and government entities have been encouraging drivers to eliminate distractions for the last 19 days and will continue to do so until the 30th.

Closer to home, the Texas Department of Transportation has been running its "Talk, Text, Crash" campaign to remind drivers to keep their phones in their pockets, purses or glove boxes.

The need for such a campaign here in the Lone Star State becomes apparent when you consider that distracted driving crashes rose 3 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Specifically, TxDOT statistics reveal that there were 108,962 distracted driving-related crashes last year resulting in serious injuries to 3,068 people and claiming the lives of another 452.

In order to help reduce these alarming figures, the agency is urging motorists to do all of the following:

  • Turn phones off or put them out of reach
  • Install apps designed to block calls or texts on the phones of younger family members who drive
  • If you have to talk or read a text, always pull over to a safe location first
  • Minimize all other distractions, not just those relating to smartphones

It will be interesting to see if this proves to be the year that state lawmakers finally pass a law making Texas the 47th state to outlaw texting while driving. Currently, close to 24 cities already have such bans in place.   

Stay tuned for updates …

If you been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to the reckless actions of a distracted motorist, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options for seeking justice.

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