Can you be on your phone at a red light? In Texas, your car does not have to be moving in order to receive a ticket for texting while driving. Texas cell phone law says that even if you are stopped at a stop light or stop sign, you are still considered to be operating a vehicle and should refrain from using your cell phone.
Is Texting at a Stop Light a Distraction?
While some might consider texting at a stop light or stop sign safe, the truth is it is still seen as a driver distraction. As a reminder, driver distractions fall into three categories:
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
Texting is one of the few actions that involve all three types of driver distraction. You may try to argue that there is not any danger as the car is not in motion; however, your vehicle is still in drive and you still owe a duty of care to other on the road. Texting, even while stopped, hampers you ability to fulfill that duty of care.
How is Texting at a Red Light Dangerous?
How many times have you been at a stop light and lifted your foot off the brake pedal because you saw a car in your peripheral inch forward? This is not an uncommon action, nor is it a completely conscious action. In fact, the conscious action comes when you realize that the light is still red and you put your foot back on the brake.
Now consider what would happened if your reaction was delayed by even a brief moment. How far into the intersection would your vehicle move? Would that foot that you just lifted of the brake continue its movement to the gas pedal? This is the risk you take when you choose to text at a stop sight.
When dealing with auto accidents, the difference between what would have been a safe trip and what turned out to be a tragedy can often be measure in milliseconds and split decisions. This is why it is important to be aware and attentive whenever you are behind the wheel.
Beyond this immediate danger, studies referenced by the Canadian Automobile Association say our minds stay distracted for nearly half-a-minute after we stop interacting with our phones as our mind is still focused on and processing what we just saw and/or sent. So while your hands may be back on the wheel and your eyes back on the road, your mind is still somewhere else.
Is Distracted Driving Really that Big of a Problem?
The short answer is yes. Distracted driving is a big problem, resulting in thousands of deaths every year. Further, the problem is growing.
- In 2015, there were 3,196 fatal motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver
- 3,477 people were killed in those wrecks
- An estimated 391,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2014
- Distracted driving is a factor in 10 percent of all fatal motor vehicle wrecks and 15 percent of all motor vehicle accident injuries
- In 2014, there were 551 non-occupants killed in distraction-affected crashes
- 322 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver between the age of 15 and 19
- The average time your eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds
- At 55 mph, this is enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident due to the actions of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Thomas J. Henry Law’s experienced auto accident attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas serving clients across Texas and nationwide. We can meet you wherever you reside, whether it be at home, at your workplace, or in the hospital. Contact us today for a free case review.