Survey Reveals that Most Would Penalize Distracted Drivers
We’ve all heard the horrors that using cell phones and other mobile devices while driving can cause for other motorists. However, many drivers in Texas and across the nation will not put down their mobile devices. As a result, one might think that most drivers would be in favor of liberal cell phone use behind the wheel; however, in reality, a vocal majority wants distracted drivers to pay for the heightened risk of car accidents that their habit causes.
A recent survey by Carinsurance.com asked 1,000 motorists across the nation how they would price auto insurance policies if they ran an insurance company. Although the majority said that they wouldn’t financially penalize a driver for something that is not related to operating a car, most said that they would hold drivers who break the law and put others at risk more accountable.
The survey found that the survey respondents took an especially dim view of texting while driving and cell phone use. In fact, an overwhelming majority (73 percent) were in favor of charging those who text while driving higher insurance premiums than many other dangerous activities, such as speeding. In addition to texting, about 53 percent of survey respondents said that cell phone use should also trigger a rise in premiums.
In addition to asking about how the respondents would punish distracted drivers, the survey also probed for solutions to the distracted driving problem. A majority of respondents (52 percent) said that they would encourage drivers to put down their mobile devices by offering a discount on premiums for drivers who install a cell phone-disabling device in their vehicles.
Texas Law on Distracted Driving
Texas is not immune to the danger that distracted drivers bring to its roadways. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, distracted drivers were responsible for 90,378 motor vehicle accidents in the state in 2012. Despite the danger, Texas has not followed other states’ lead and passed a ban on using a cell phone or texting while driving, aside from a ban on both activities among young drivers during their first 12 months of licensure.
However, many cities and municipalities across Texas have taken the matter into their own hands and have enacted ordinances addressing the problem. Austin is one of such communities. With some exceptions, it is illegal to send, read or write a text message while driving within Austin’s city limits.
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Although Texas law is largely silent on distracted driving, it does not mean that those who cause accidents or injuries while texting or talking on a cell phone get off scot free. Under the law, drivers who are injured by someone else’s carelessness or negligence can recover the expenses resulting from the accident, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you or a loved one have been injured by an inattentive or negligent driver, contact an Austin personal injury attorney at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC to hold the responsible party accountable.