Texas Law and News Blog

Beeville, Texas Bans Cell Phones

The city of Beeville, Texas has announced that it will ban the use of cell phones and any other handheld devices for motorists who are operating a vehicle. The ordinance in question was only passed towards the end of November, but it is scheduled to become effective December 20th of this year. In accordance with this new regulation, law enforcement at the Beeville Police Department will be authorized to write citations for any motor vehicle driver who is found to be using any device with his or her hands while driving in the city limits of Beeville.

The Prevalence of Distracted Driving Accidents

According to statistics compiled by the National Traffic Safety Administration, about 800,000 drivers are distracted by cell phone use at any given time. While people of all ages are guilty of operating motor vehicles while distracted, teenagers are the biggest offenders of distracted driving. According to other statistics, distracted drivers killed or injured nearly 30,000 people in the course of 2015. While some states have prohibited the use of cell phones while driving, the state of Texas has yet to pass such a law. Although Texas lawmakers have considered legislation designed to ban the use of mobile devices, significant opposition to such a law has been voiced by various opponents. Beeville’s decision to pass a local ordinance, however, is a significant step in changing the legal landscape of Texas regarding the use of mobile devices.

Types of Distracted Driving

The government classifies distracted driving into three categories:

  • Manual, or when a motorist’s hands are taken off the steering wheel of a vehicle,
  • Visual, or when a motorist takes his or her eyes off the road, and
  • Cognitive, or when an individual takes his or her mind off of operating the vehicle.

Some of the most common types of distracted driving include using a cell phone for calling or texting while driving, using the car’s radio or GPS system, talking to other passengers in the vehicle, applying makeup, eating and drinking, listening to loud music, smoking, reading, not focusing on the road, or having a pet in the vehicle. Statistics show that a large percentage of rear-end accidents are caused by motor vehicle drivers who look down at a cell phone and take their eyes off the road for a brief but crucial moment.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Minimizing the use of cell phones is critical for drivers, but phone use is only one contributing factor in distracted driving incidents that cause serious injuries, death, or substantial property damage. Distracted driving is not avoidable in every case, but in many situations there are steps that individuals can take to avoid accidents, such as:

  • Avoid eating or drinking while operating a motor vehicle.
  • Organize objects in the vehicle to avoid multitasking while driving.
  • Limit the number of passengers in a motor vehicle.
  • Make sure that children and pets are adequately secured prior to driving.
  • Place your cell phone in a hard-to-reach location.
  • Get off the road and take a nap if you feel fatigued while driving.
  • Use a cellular phone only during emergency situations.