Despite the ban that went into effect January 1st, 2015, Austin drivers are still texting and driving. Using an electronic device while driving is illegal in Austin, however, the state of Texas is one of four states in the U.S. without a statewide law banning the act. According to the Austin Municipal Court, 5,703 tickets have been issued for using an electronic device and driving since February 2015. The city has not seen a decrease since the ban, and people still continue to use electronic devices while operating a vehicle.
Banning Hand Held Electronics on Austin Roads
Perhaps you’ve stopped texting and driving. Good for you, but have you stopped using other electronic devices on the road? One mistake people seem to make is that they believe this law only applies to texting and driving. The Ordinance explains that there are many devices that cannot be used under this law, mainly hand-held electronic. Here are the examples given by the Austin Government:
- Mobile telephone
- Personal digital assistant
- MPS or hand-held music player
- Electronic reading device
- Laptop computer
- Broadband personal communication device
- GPS or navigation system
- Electronic gaming device
- Portable computing device
Distracted Driving Causing Accidents
According to the Austin Government, the use of electronics while driving isn’t the only problem. Distracted driving doesn’t just mean texting while driving. Here is what the city of Austin considers distracted driving:
Using a cell phone
- Taking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting your music
All of these things are a danger to yourself and others on the road. If you need to look at your directions or call someone for help, please pull over. If you want to change your music or take a sip of your water, wait until you are at a red light, and still keep an eye for the light to change. But, still do not text at a stop sign or a red light.
Avoiding a Crash With Distracted Drivers
Even if you are abiding by the law, chances are you will come across someone on the road that is not doing the same. Here are some tips to help you spot a distracted driver on the road.
Someone is looking down frequently: if you see a driver the keeps looking down, chances are he isn’t looking at his shoes.
Swerving: Long stops: Did the light turn green and the person in front of you hasn’t budged? They are probably texting or changing their music, and haven’t bothered to notice the light change. Honk your horn so they will move, but be aware that they may have the tendency to check their phone again while driving.
- Sudden breaking: If a person slam on a break in reaction to a normal traffic stop, that is a major sign of distraction because they did not see that bright red sign that read “stop” coming up.
- Running stop signs or red lights: running through a stop or red light is a definite no no and a major sign of distraction.
Following too closely: Is someone close behind your vehicle, or the vehicle next to you? They are probably not paying close attention to the road.
- Not follow speed limits or traffic flow: Is someone going slower or faster than they should be? Chances are they are paying closer attention to their electronic device than to the road.
So, how do you drive when you see these signs? Keep your distance from these vehicles, and if they are incredibly unsafe, memorize their license plate, pull over, and call the police.
So please, do not use hand-held electronic devices while driving, and purchase devices that will keep you safe behind the wheel. Remember to be cautious of others that are breaking the law, and if you need to make a call or text, please pull over. If you or a loved one gets into an accident that involves the use of an electronic device, contact Rhett Hoestenbach at 512-472-8865 use the live chat on our website, fill out the form on this page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org