The Dangers of Texting and Driving in Texas

When you think about texting and driving, it sounds like a horrible idea. Why would anyone drive at high speeds while not watching where they are going? Well, the reality is that once you get comfortable behind the wheel, it may seem like you can multitask. However, the risks are just not worth it. Plus, it's now illegal statewide in Texas. Learn more about the dangers of texting and driving, the current Texas laws, and how you can stay safe on the roads.  

The Dangers of Texting While Driving

Distracted driving is a major problem in not only Texas, but the entire United States — and texting is one of the most dangerous distractions. If you're driving 55 miles per hour, reading a text takes your eyes off the road long enough for you to drive the length of a football field — about five seconds.

Now, imagine multiple drivers all looking at their phones instead of the road. It's a recipe for disaster. While driving can seem mundane at times, things can happen in a split second. Someone could switch lanes, slam on their brakes, or have an object fly out of their truck bed. You need to have your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel so you can respond quickly. 

Unfortunately, distracted drivers cause about 391,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths each year in the U.S. Consider that of the 100 people who die each day in car crashes, nine of those deaths are due to distracted driving. While distractions can range from texting or web browsing to eating, drinking, grooming, adjusting the radio, or programming your GPS, an estimated 4% of U.S. drivers have been found to be using a handheld cell phone at any given moment. Checking your phone while driving can be tempting and seem harmless, but the truth is — it can cost you your life or take someone else's. 

Texas Laws on Cell Phone Use While Driving

While Texas was far from the first state to implement laws restricting the use of cell phones while driving, it has done some work to catch up. Ever since September of 2017, it has been illegal for anyone to text while driving in any part of Texas. If you're caught texting and driving, you could be charged with a misdemeanor which will require you to pay a fine from $25 to $99. Subsequent offenses can result in fees ranging from $100 to $200.

In addition to the banning texting while driving, Texas also has the following cell phone laws:

  • Select Texas cities have banned all cellphone use while driving.

  • Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use handheld devices while driving in Texas. 

  • It is illegal to use a handheld device in a school zone.

While having the laws in place is a step in the right direction, distracted driving continues to be a problem.

How to Become a Safer Driver

If you find yourself texting or using your phone while driving, here are some tips to help you break the habit.

  • First, put your phone away when you're driving and turn off the notifications. Putting it on silent may work, or your phone may have a "do not disturb" setting that automatically turns on when you're traveling at high speeds.

  • Next, let your friends and family know that you don't use your phone while driving so you may not always answer or respond right away.

  • Lastly, if you need to call or text someone while you're driving, find a safe place to pull over so you can do so. 

These small steps can make a huge difference. Further, our online Texas defensive driving course can equip you with techniques and knowledge to not only be a safer driver but to better protect yourself from bad drivers. Plus, it may also be able to help you dismiss a ticket or earn an insurance discount.

Get Started with your Online Drivers Ed Course Today

Learn More

Updated 4/19/22