In Texas, as of September 1, 2017, texting while driving has been illegal. The new law is part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Talk (DOT), Text, Crash Campaign. In addition to the new law, the Texas Department of Public Safety requires all people seeking a Texas driver license to complete a distracted driving course before they can obtain their license.
Even with the new law and driver license requirements, numerous people still risk their lives and the lives of others every single day by texting and driving at the same time. According to the Texas DOT, there was a total of 537,475 reportable car accidents in 2017. Of those, 100,687 involved distracted drivers, which resulted in 2,889 serious injuries and 444 fatalities.1
If you are or a loved one is injured during a car accident and you suspect the other driver was texting and driving at the same time, proving it will require the help of experienced car accident lawyers. There are several ways to prove that other drivers were texting or using their smartphones when accidents occur.
- Review the Police Report: If the other driver admitted to the police he or she was using a smartphone at the time of the accident, it should be in the police report.
- Ask Witnesses: If there were witnesses present, and you obtained their contact details, your lawyer can question them and see if they saw the other driver texting and driving.
- Video Footage: Your lawyer can obtain footage of traffic cams if there were any in the area where the accident occurred. This footage could easily show the other driver texting while driving.
- Driving Record: Your lawyer could obtain a copy of the other driver’s driving record to see if he or she has been issued tickets for texting and driving in the past. This can help establish a pattern of distracted driving.
- Smartphone Records: Your lawyer can obtain a subpoena for the other person’s smartphone records that would show that the driver was reading or sending text messages at the time of the accident.
- Social Media Records: Your lawyer may also check the other driver’s social media sites for status updates, posts, and usage at the time of the accident.
What if the Driver Claims to Not Have Been Texting and Driving?
Distracted driving involves more than just texting and driving. If it can be established the driver was looking down at a smartphone or one was in hand at the time of the accident, the person could still be guilty of distracted driving. Your lawyer will use similar methods to verify smartphone usage at the time of the accident.
In Texas, using your smartphone for any type of purposes while driving is illegal and includes:
- Watching Videos
- Accessing Social Media Sites
- Taking Selfies
- Playing Games
The only things for which you may use your smartphone while driving are hands-free telephone calls, listening to music, and using the GPS guidance app on your phone. The phone CANNOT be in your hands at any time while driving. Otherwise, you could be ticketed and found at fault for causing a distracted driving accident.
For further information about filing damages for personal injuries sustained during a texting and driving accident caused by another driver, please feel free to contact Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. at 713-364-0723 for a FREE consultation today!