Impact of texting ban in Texas

Local News

It’s been more than a year since Texas passed a ban on texting and driving.

Instead of a decrease in numbers, official said they’ve actually gone up despite the important law.

“It’s probably one of the most dangerous things you can do because it does use up all your skills for driving. In fact we say if you’re going 55 miles per hour and texting even a short message like ‘I’ll be there soon,’ or ‘where are you’ or something like that. That’s like driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded,” said Marcus Sandifer, Texas Department of Transportation.

The Texas Department of Transportation said in 2017 there were 1,162 cases of distracted driving with four fatalities in the east Texas district. 2018 saw an increase of 1,197 distracted driving cases with eleven fatalities. Five of those occurred during the same crash.

“Most people just don’t think it will happen to them,” Sandifer said.

Sandifer said despite the increase it’s a difficult law to enforce.

“You have actually have to catch somebody doing it. Law officers are looking for people with their heads down,” Sandifer said.    

Distracted driving cases are also having other consequences. 

“Insurance rates are going up because there’s so many accidents caused by distracted driving. That’s one of the reasons we want to educate people. Put the phones down,” Sandifer said.

Affecting not just public safety but your pocketbook. 

The law states people cannot read, write or send messages while driving unless the vehicle is stopped. It includes fines up to 200-dollars.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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