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Texas Hands-Free Law: What you need to know?

In Texas, an individual can lawfully operate their phones while driving by engaging in hands-free functions. However, it is against the law to email, tweet, text, or post while you are operating a motor vehicle.  

Moreover, drivers who have learner’s permits are prohibited from using cell phones for a time of 6 months while driving. It is illegal to use any handheld device in your vehicle while you are in the school zone. Drivers under the age of 18 years who are driving are prohibited from using any handheld devices.

Is Texas a hands-free state?

In Texas, texting while driving is illegal. Some cities ban the use of cell phones while driving. If an individual is using a mobile device while driving, it is distracted driving and can prove to be dangerous, considered to be a form of causing auto accidents.  Texas is the 47th state to ban the dangerous practice of texting and driving.

A San Antonio Auto Accident Lawyer can provide you with knowledge and an understanding of the hands-free driving laws in Texas.

Is texting while driving illegal?

Texting and driving is illegal in almost every state. However, the laws for using cell phones for minors may vary from one state to another. A ticket for driving while texting ticket may impose fines and can lead to an increase in insurance rates.

Are hands-free calls legal in Texas?

Generally, it is illegal in Texas to use a cell phone while you are operating a motor vehicle, unless you have a hands-free function. In simple terms, it means you will be unable to talk, read, text, or send emails while driving. 

Moreover, checking your Facebook status or doing any other things on your smartphone or tablet is against the hand-free laws in Texas.

Hand-free laws for school bus drivers in Texas

According to Texas laws, school bus drivers must refrain from using phones or making calls, or texting while driving – even with a hands-free device. In Texas, it is forbidden to make hands-free calls or use any phones in the school zone.

Liability For Distracted Driving in Texas

Hands Free Law In TexasIf an individual causes a crash due to a violation of Texas cell phone laws, they can be liable for the damages. Every driver has a duty of care to other drivers, and if they are using a phone while driving, it can lead to failure of abiding by their duty.

You can pursue compensation by investigating the accident claims, gathering witnesses’ statements, and obtaining a copy of the police report, and phone records of the negligent party to determine whether their negligence caused your injuries.

Some of the economic damages that can be recovered because of the distracted driving-related car accident include some of the following: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Losing of potential to earn

Some of the non-economic damages may include loss of consortium and pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Sometimes, an accident can be fatal, and the family of the deceased can pursue a wrongful death claim for their losses.

Which states have hands-free driving laws?

According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), on January 24, 2022, the US states banned the use of handheld devices for all those behind the wheel. 

Some of the hand-free states are the following:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota

What are the penalties for violating Texas cell phone law?

Violation of distracted driving laws, hands-free laws, and other laws prevailing in the state of Texas is a misdemeanor. It means the victim will get a criminal record as emailing, texting, or tweeting is an illegal practice. 

Anyone who is violating these laws can be imposed a fine ranging from $25 to $99. Repeated offenders may impose a fine of up to $200. The fines can go up to $4,000 if the driver was distracted and that was the cause of the accident. 

The goal of creating awareness about the Texas law on using phones while driving is to make the roads safer for everyone.

What are the defenses for Texas distracted drivers?

To prove a text while driving violation, you must present strong evidence. The testimony of a law enforcement officer can serve as one type of proof. Furthermore, cell phone records and testimony of witnesses can also be used as evidence.

However, there are defenses available for the accused driver such as:

  • Using a cell phone for a reasonable purpose: If the driver was using their cell phone for a legitimate purpose such as navigating or placing an emergency call, then they may not be liable.
  • Using a mobile device when a vehicle is not in motion: It is possible for a person to be wrongfully accused of texting while driving. If the accused was stopped and not driving, then they may not be liable for any penalties.

Texting while driving facts in Texas

Distracted driving has been a fundamental problem in the state of Texas. In the year 2021, the number of people who got injured was 2,934, and the number of people killed was 431 in Texas.

Let’s take a glimpse at some of the astonishing facts:

  • In 2020, 1 out of 5 crashes happened because of distracted driving in Texas.
  • In 2020, the number of people who were injured was 2,200 and those who got killed were 364.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, nearly 3,142 people lost their lives to distracted drivers.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), 255 people who got injured through distracted driving were between the ages of 20 and 29.

All these fatalities were reported due to texting while driving accidents. To prevent such fatalities, it is essential to abide by the safety tips and refrain from getting any tickets.

Finding legal support after an auto accident? Contact us today!

After a distracted driving accident, you can experience emotional and physical trauma to your life. You may be facing medical bills and lost wages due to the accident. If you have been a victim of a distracted driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Come and give us a call or fill out our online form and we can help you through this difficult time. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand what options are available to you and how to navigate the legal system. Let us help you get back on your feet after this accident.

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