Texas lawmakers have given drivers yet another reason to avoid texting behind the wheel. A new law was passed late Sunday banning the sending or reading of text messages while driving. Offenders can be expected to pay fines of $200 or more.
While the legislature may be having a difficult time coming to agreement on most items on the agenda, they must be applauded for taking steps to put an end to such a dangerous and completely preventable threat to Texas motorists.
Texas joins the more than 30 other states that have recognized the need to enact laws to further discourage the use of text messages while in the driver’s seat. As cell phones become more and more prevalent and as people of all ages become more accustomed to communicating via text messages, law such as this have become a necessity.
One of the more frustrating aspects of this epidemic is that there is no shortage of studies which show texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 5,870 people lost their life in text-related accidents in 2008 alone. An additional 515,000 were injured.
In fact, a Virginia Tech Driving Institute study found drivers who text are 23 times more likely to get into a wreck. If increasing a driver’s chance of a wreck 23 times is not a big enough deterrent, maybe the threat of a hefty fine is.