Inconsistent Reporting Impedes Texas Cities Seeking to Gather Distracted Driving Crash Data
Once again, the Texas Legislature reached its annual recess without passing a bill that would ban texting while driving throughout the state, preserving Texas’s status as one of only six states that do not have such a law. This means that for another year, Texas cities seeking to ban texting while driving within their limits will have to enforce their own laws locally – and do so while struggling to gather evidence that the bans do in fact reduce accidents.
Evidence that Texas cities with texting bans are safer places to drive than cities without would go a long way toward getting a statewide ban passed. Experienced Texas distracted driving accident lawyers who have examined the nationwide numbers realize that the data can persuade many lawmakers that the ban is the safe thing to do.
But local police officers in Dallas and other cities say that gathering that information can be difficult, according to a recent article in the Dallas News. First, officers note, very few drivers are willing to admit that an accident was their fault – and those who do cause a crash while texting or talking will frequently shove the phone out of sight long before police arrive on the scene.
Because finding out whether texting or talking was involved in a crash is difficult, it’s easy for opponents of a ban to argue that it won’t actually make the roads safer. In Austin, which recently enacted a citywide ban, 70 accidents were caused by cellphone use while driving in 2014 alone. Gathering this information is essential not only for lawmakers seeking to make informed decisions, but also for motorists or pedestrians injured by a distracted driver.
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