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New Texas law allows police to ticket texting drivers

Drivers across the state may already be noticing changes since a new distracted driving law took effect recently. On Sept. 1, texting and driving became a primary offense, and police now have the authority to pull drivers over specifically for using their cell phones. Officials hope the new law will prevent car accidents that claim lives every year across Texas. Of course, the law is not without its critics.

Last year, 455 people died in car accidents that resulted from distracted driving. Among the many things that distract drivers, texting is one of the most common and one of the deadliest. Texting not only takes the driver's eyes from the road and hands from the wheel, it may take the driver's mind from situational awareness. While the existing laws banned cell phone use for drivers under 18 and those driving in school zones, the new law tightens the restrictions when using devices for reasons other than GPS adjustment or music selections.

There are those who disapprove of the law. Some argue that law enforcement officers will not be able to tell the difference between a driver who is texting and one who is using a device for the limited approved purposes. Others feel the bill does not go far enough to prevent distracted driving. Fines for a first offense are less than $100, and a second offense may reach $200. No points are assessed for a texting and driving.

Those in Texas who have been injured or lost loved ones in car accidents caused by distracted drivers may agree that more should be done to deter these behaviors. In some cases, victims of distracted drivers seek legal assistance by contacting an attorney. With professional advocacy, they can determine the best course of action for seeking justice for their injuries.

Source: dallasobserver.com, "Texas Texting and Driving Ban Starts Today", Stephen Young, Sept. 1, 2017

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