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Distracted Driving

Teen Texting and Driving

Teen Texting and Driving
Getting a license is a milestone every teenager anticipates, but new drivers face more dangers than ever before. With all the recent headlines about the dangers of distracted drivers, parents are scrambling for ways to stop their kids from texting while driving. According to this report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 to 20 claim that texting while driving has no effect on their ability to drive, but that same age group has the highest crash rate of all drivers. As a parent, how can you prevent your teen from becoming another statistic?

Getting a license is a milestone every teenager anticipates, but new drivers face more dangers than ever before. With all the recent headlines about the dangers of distracted drivers, parents are scrambling for ways to stop their kids from texting while driving. According to this report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 to 20 claim that texting while driving has no effect on their ability to drive, but that same age group has the highest crash rate of all drivers. As a parent, how can you prevent your teen from becoming another statistic?

Lead by Example

The first thing every parent should do is set a good example. If you text, email or make calls while you drive, your teenager will assume that it is acceptable behavior and be much more likely to follow suit.

Talk to Your Teen

You may find that your teen is unaware of how risky texting and driving really is. Lay out published statistics so that he or she will understand that these dangers are real.

Good Driver Rewards

Give your teen positive reinforcement to encourage good driving. Rewards are proven to be one of the most effective ways to promote good habits, so negotiate with him or her to establish reasonable incentives for driving safely.

Smartphone Monitoring

There are many mobile apps available today that will allow you to keep track of your teen's driving habits. Most of these apps come with a small monthly subscription, and they will send you alerts if your teen is speeding or texting while in a car.

Be Authoritative

Texting while driving can be more deadly than drinking and driving, so do not hesitate to punish your teen for engaging in this dangerous behavior. Make a zero-tolerance rule and enforce it strongly. Punishment may seem harsh, but it can save lives. Texting while driving is dangerous, and it is also illegal in many states. Your teen could risk hefty fines or even lose their license for violating the law. To make sure you know the law in your state, Free DMV Practice Tests offers cheat sheets to help you learn what rules apply.

Distracted Driving Laws in Texas

According to the Texas State Transportation Institute, over two-thirds of teenage drivers admitted to using a cell phone while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving accounts for nearly 20 percent of all traffic fatalities in the nation. The State of Texas enacted two new laws that address distracted driving prohibiting the following:

According to the Texas State Transportation Institute, over two-thirds of teenage drivers admitted to using a cell phone while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving accounts for nearly 20 percent of all traffic fatalities in the nation. The State of Texas enacted two new laws that address distracted driving prohibiting the following:
 
It is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use any type of wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.
 
Drivers who hold a learners permit are prohibited from using a hand-held cell phone during the first six months.
 
All drivers are prohibited from using a hand-held drive while operating a motor vehicle in a school-crossing zone.
 
School bus drivers cannot use a cell phone while driving when a passenger 17 or younger is present.
 
This is a primary offense that means law enforcement officers do not need anther reason to pull the driver over and issue a citation.
 
Statewide Text Message Ban Coming Soon
House Bill 242 is currently awaiting approval from Texas Governor Rick Perry. This legislation has already been approved by both the House and Senate as of May 29, 2011. The measure seeks to ban reading or sending any type of text message while operating a motor vehicle. If approved, the law would take effect on September 1, 2011 and offenders would be fined $200 and face up to 30 days in jail. Drivers who cause an accident while emailing or texting resulting in serious injury or death would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor offense. The penalty includes a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail. Exceptions to the proposed law include using a device in an emergency or drivers whose primary job involves communicating with a dispatcher.
 
New Laws in Several Cities
Several cities throughout Texas have enacted new laws regarding cell phone usage and texting while driving. These include the following places:
 
Alvin As of March 2011, texting while driving or using a cell phone in a school zone is illegal.
 
Amarillo Using a cell phone in a school zone while driving is prohibited. The new law goes into effect beginning in the 2011/2012 school year.
 
El Paso The City Council approved a ban on texting or talking on a cell phone while driving on March 9, 2010. Fines can range anywhere from $114 to $500 for each violation.
 
Galveston A fine of up to $500 will be issued to anyone caught texting while driving within city limits.
 
McAllen Driving while text messaging or conducting any Internet related activity was banned on January 24, 2011. Violators will be fined up to $200.
 
Missouri City A ban on texting while driving became effective on June 1, 2010 and offenders will be fined up to $500.
 
San Antonio Texting while driving was banned on January 14, 2011 and violators will be fined up to $200.
 
Stephenville Text messaging and using a hand-held cell phone while driving will result in a fine of up to $200.
When to Consult an Attorney in Texas
When cities and states throughout the nation are facing budget shortfalls, officers are more likely to issue citations. In an effort to gain revenue, the police have begun cracking down and handing out more tickets than ever before. If you have recently been cited for a driving offense in Texas, contact an attorney for help.

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