Currently under Austin city ordinance, you may not text while driving (I hope!) or use your smart phone to make dinner reservations, movies times, or check football scores while caught in Austin traffic, as these activities are both illegal and dangerous. But, how many of you will admit to talking on your cell phone while behind the wheel? Just a quick glance at the drivers around you on any road will confirm that most of us do it. Maybe it's just a way to pass the time during a boring commute or you try to squeeze a few more minutes of work conversations before meeting the family at home for dinner. In Austin, these conversations soon may be illegal.
Earlier this year, a Distracted Driving Study Group created by Austin's city council was asked to determine ways that the current city ordinance regarding distracted driving could be made even stronger. Earlier this week, the recommendation was made that portable electronic devices should be banned altogether. The only way to make a phone call, the study group advised, should be by using a hands-free device. The city council will be gathering more feedback on the proposal before possibly placing it on the agenda.
Austin and the other major cities throughout Texas are notorious for their traffic problems. And, there is compelling evidence that cell phones and other such devices play a significant role in the frustrations. Throughout the state, one in five car accidents is caused by distracted driving. In 2013, that equated to 94,943 crashes. If pulling over to the side of the road or investing in hands-free technology likely would save lives, then there is merit to considering a change to our current laws.
At Bertolino LLP, we see people in our offices every day who have been injured as a result of poor decisions made by others. Another driver's focus on a text message or phone call instead of the road can mean physical pain, time missed from work, and the trauma that lingers following a car wreck. If you have been hurt in a car accident and it was not your fault, please contact our office today. We will stand with you to get the compensation you deserve.
Questions: What are your thoughts? Are you in favor of banning phones altogether for Austin drivers?