Proposed Texting Ban Could Help Car Wreck Victims in Texas CourtsMarch 9, 2011
The legal system in Texas makes it difficult for the injured victim of a car wreck to recover all of their damages resulting from a car wreck. However, the Texas legislature is debating a law which will help auto-accidents victims injured by driver’s texting behind the wheel. The law would solve a key issue the courts must decide when addressing these types of accidents, that being whether texting while driving per se causes a person to fail to exercise their duty of due care owed to other motorists on the road. The negligent defendant who caused the collision will no longer be able to argue that texting did not affect the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle under the proposed legislation. Because the driver was texting in violation of the proposed Texas law, the courts would presume that the driver was negligent.
On March 9, 2011, a Texas House committee heard emotionally charged testimony regarding the dangers of cell phone use while driving. Reportedly, the Texas legislature is considering a bill which would effectively make all Texas roads a “text free zone.” The legislative hearings come in the wake of new laws in cities like Austin and San Antonio which have already banned texting while driving.
Sources say the congressmen who authored the bill, Tom Craddick, explained to the committee that the bill is designed to make laws around the state of Texas uniform. Mr. Craddick said that state wide action is preferable to each individual city passing the texting bans which may be different and cause confustion.
In 2009, the Texas legislature made it illegal to text and drive in a school zone and for drivers 18 or younger to text while driving. Sources say the House committee also heard a bill which would extend this legislation to drivers of all ages. Reportedly, the committee heard testimony from John Hildinger, a biker who held up a leather cap and said “My best friend—this was his. He had never got into a wreck. He died just over a year ago, because somebody was under the influence of their social life and was texting.”
Reportedly, one activist group spoke out against the bill saying the legislation would curb personal freedoms.