Person texting while driving

Texting & Driving

As technology has become more popular in recent years, laws regarding texting while driving have been implemented specifically prohibiting the act of writing, sending, or reading messages on electronic devices during the operation of a motor vehicle.

The law further encompasses other types of electronic exchange including emails, instant messages, and various forms of Internet-based messages. What many individuals do not realize is that texting while driving is classified as a moving traffic violation, and may be considered a criminal misdemeanor in certain jurisdictions, often requiring the help of a bail bond.

These precautionary measures were taken after The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that texting while driving increases the risk of an auto accident by as much as 23 times more. Similar to other traffic laws, texting while driving is imposed by state and local governments. Furthermore, many counties and municipalities have enacted their own laws against texting while driving. Federal laws have not yet set precedent on banning this act except for certain federal employees. Currently, 44 states along with Washington D.C., and the United States Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. Another four states strictly prohibit teenage and new drivers from this act whereas three states only enforce this law for bus drivers. Let’s examine the breakdown below.

States with no restrictions on texting while driving:

  • Arizona
  • Montana

States with lenient texting while driving laws:

  • Mississippi: Prohibits individuals with a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Missouri: Bans drivers 21 years or younger.
  • Oklahoma: Prohibits individuals with a learner’s permit, intermediate license, school bus drivers, and public transit drivers.
  • Texas: Bans bus drivers with passengers 17 and younger, intermediate license holders, and drivers in school zones.

As texting while driving laws vary from state to state, you should make sure you stay up to date with this imperative information. Additionally, even in places that do not have specific laws against texting while driving, if you are caught driving recklessly or cause an accident, you may be in violation of general distracted driving laws. This means that police officers may pull over and write a citation for drivers, even if they do not observe any other violations. The punishment for texting while driving offenses vary, but usually include monetary fines ranging from $20 up to $500.

Further penalties for texting while driving may involve criminal misdemeanor charges, points on your driving record, suspension or revocation of your license, mandatory safety classes, and potential jail time. The severity of punishments increase with repeat offenses as well as whether an accident has occurred during the act of texting while driving. For example, if the offense resulted in bodily injury to another driver, a potential penalty may include prison time. Additional charges may be brought upon you including reckless driving or manslaughter in the event that you fatally injure someone in the act of texting while driving.

A recent study showed that texting while driving had a more significant impact on safety than if you were driving while intoxicated. Furthermore, the Pew Research Center reported that 40% of American teenagers admitted they have been in a car where the driver used a cell phone in a way which put passengers or other drivers in danger. If you find yourself in a situation where you have been arrested for texting while driving, a bail bond can be written in order to acquire a release for a monetary fee. This ensures that you will show up to court and is determined based on the severity of the crime, flight risk, previous criminal history, and employment. Just remember that the laws surrounding texting while driving are to ensure the safety of yourself, other drivers, and passengers.

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