According to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents related to distracted driving cause nine deaths and over 1,060 injuries every day. A 2011 study from the same source revealed some alarming habits regarding distracted driving including talking on the phone and texting while driving. 69 per cent of all U.S. drivers aged 18 to 64 reported using their cell phones while driving within the month before the survey. 31 per cent of drivers sent at least one text message or email while they were behind the wheel. These texting and driving statistics are serious enough to draw the lawmakers’ attention. Until recently, no city in Texas passed a law to ban texting while driving. In mid-March 2014, Farmers Branch TX joined several other cities in the state in making texting and driving illegal on its public roads.
The town of Farmers Branch TX texting and driving ban is a legal initiative that originated from Ana Reyes, one of the city council members. On March 18th, the council unanimously voted in favor of the texting ban. The ban was passed in the form of an ordinance amendment. It’s now illegal to text and drive anywhere on the city’s roads as of that date. Police officers are allowed to pull drivers over and issue warnings. Drivers caught in violation of the ban who don’t contest the ticket are liable to pay an estimated $191. Since the ordinance has come in effect, digital message boards informing the city’s residents of the rule have been placed all over Farmers Branch TX. The authorities are also disseminating the news via social media and emailed newsletters.
Under the new rule, drivers are not allowed to use any electronic device while driving for any purpose other than to make a phone call. They’re not allowed to play games, look at pictures, write emails, or send text messages. However, there’s still a 90-day period of grace for drivers caught breaking the new rule and, in all likelihood, the city will probably not issue any citations before the middle of June, says Sid Fuller, the Farmers Branch Police Chief. Wireless communication devices can still be used to make calls via hands-free or voice command, drivers can text if the vehicle is not moving, and GPS devices are permitted.
Texas Texting and Driving Statistics and Regulations
According to the chief of the local police department, it’s difficult to accurately state how many texting and driving accidents have occurred in the city. In 2013, the local drivers involved in 11 of the accidents that took place that year admitted (or were proven) to have used a cellphone during the event. One thing is for sure, though: there are now three cities in North Texas with a firm rule that clearly tells drivers “don’t text and drive.” In November, 2011, Arlington, TX began issuing citations for drivers that use their phone for other purposes than phone calls. Grand Prairie issued a similar ordinance in August last year. The rule was enforced from December 1st onward. Local law enforcers also confirm that monitoring texting and driving is difficult in the absence of a personal admission from the driver or a video recording.
Texting and driving in Texas is not regulated by any statewide documents, but the state’s Transportation Code does prohibit drivers from using cell phones and other mobile devices when driving in a school crossing zone. This, however, only applies in municipalities that expressly prohibit this. Several school officials in Farmers Branch say they’ve noticed that drivers now at least park before texting. This sign gives them hope that the new rule will bring about positive change.