Texas not only has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of drunken driving deaths in the United States, but it is also one of only four states that does not yet have a state-wide ban distracted driving.
Although distracted driving is illegal in Austin, it does not stop drivers from texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Consider the recent rear-end collision involving Mary Selvera, heading to Austin from Kyle to get to work. Police on the scene said the driver of the vehicle that hit Selvera admitted he was looking at his phone when the accident happened. Selvera’s car was totalled.
Kyle bans distracted driving, however it is only a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.00. If all of the fines issued under the city’s bylaw were collected for tickets issued since February 2015 for using an e-device, the city could collect $2,851,500.00. That number represents a staggering 5,703 tickets.
Law or not, the number of crashes has increased since the ban went into place. It’s extremely difficult for the police to prove distracted driving as opposed to drunken driving. Attempting to prove distracted driving would require a subpoena to launch a criminal investigation. What is the solution? No one seems to know the answer to that question, since it is a human problem, not a legal one.