Cell phones are a significant cause of distractions behind the wheel. Many states have enacted laws that ban or limit the use of cell phones while driving. Although violations can result in penalties, it’s also possible that using one could be considered a cause or at least a contributing factor to an accident.
The Cell Phone Laws in Texas
Texas has a very limited ban regarding the use of handheld cell phones. They are only banned in school zones. Bus drivers are banned from talking on a cell phone and/or texting when a passenger under the age of 18 is present. Additionally, drivers under the age of 18 are banned at all times from using a cell phone. The same rules apply with regard to texting.
These are considered primary laws in Texas, which means that even without committing another traffic offense, a ticket can be issued.
The Federal Cell Phone Ban for Truckers
Although these rules apply to all motorists, there are special laws for commercial truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has put a ban on all handheld mobile devices. Any device that requires pushing more than one button cannot be used when behind the wheel of a large truck. This applies whether the trucker is in Texas or elsewhere in the country.
Impact of Cell Phone Use in an Accident
Although cell phones may not be banned in all circumstances, it doesn’t mean their use can’t play a role in determining fault for an accident. In fact, distractions such as this are found to impact drivers manually, visually and cognitively. For instance, it can cause a driver to take his/her hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and mind off driving.
Actions such as this could be considered negligence. While many people think that in order to be found at fault a traffic law has to be broken, that isn’t necessarily the case. Anything done behind the wheel that is careless or reckless could result in a driver being liable for injuries in a crash.
But it could also be that using a cell phone does cause a traffic violation. Let’s say that because one hand was on a phone and the other on the steering wheel, a driver doesn’t use a turn signal and makes a lane change. If this results in an accident, it would be considered negligence.
Many times it is the use of a cell phone that is the direct cause of a crash. An example is when a driver’s eyes are on a text message instead of what’s ahead. It could be too late to realize that the vehicle in front has slowed or stopped and as a result, the driver strikes it from behind.
To discuss whether cell phone use was a contributing factor or an outright cause of an accident, contact an attorney today. At Van Wey Law, we have legal counsel available to review the details of a case in order to determine one’s right to file a claim and pursue compensation for injuries sustained.
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