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What Happens If I Get Caught Texting While Driving a Semi-Truck in Houston, Texas?

Did you know that texting while driving at 55 mph causes you to take your eyes off the road for the length of a football field? Distracted driving is dangerous, and for that reason, many states have implemented laws surrounding it. 

The state of Texas has strict laws against texting while driving, and these laws apply to all drivers, regardless of vehicle type. If youre found guilty of texting while driving a commercial vehicle, you may also have your commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspended for up to a year.

While the penalties for texting while driving are severe, they pale in comparison to the dangers of distracted driving. Keep reading o learn what happens if you get caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas. 

A History of Texas Laws on Distracted Driving

Effective September 1, 2017, texting while driving became illegal across the State of Texas. The new law was passed during the 85th Texas Legislative session and prohibits drivers from reading, writing, or sending electronic messages while operating a vehicle. 

The law covers various situations. 

It is illegal in Texas to text while you are driving. That includes receiving or sending messages while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

This law applies to all drivers, including those operating a semi-truck. If a person is caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas, they may face various penalties.

It is illegal to use your handheld device while driving through a school zone.

For the first six months of driving, a driver with a learner’s permit cannot use a cell phone in any way while driving.

You’re not allowed to use any handheld devices, like your cell phone, while you’re driving if you’re under 18.

No matter what, bus drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones while they’re driving. They can’t even look at them!

The Dangers of Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is dangerous. It increases your chances of being in an accident by 23 times. That’s why it’s against the law in Houston, Texas, to text while driving a semi-truck.

Let’s check out some of the dangers of texting while driving. 

Accidents

Texting while driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. In 2016, 109,658 traffic accidents in Texas involved distracted driving.

Injuries

Texting while driving increases your chances of being in a serious or fatal car accident. Injuries from car accidents can be severe and even fatal. Of the 109,658 accidents in 2016, 3,087 of them resulted in serious injuries.

Death

Texting while driving is one of the leading causes of death on our roads. Every year, thousands of people are killed in car accidents caused by distracted driving. In 2016, there were a total of 455 deaths just in the state of Texas from distracted texting. 

If youre caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, you could get fined. You may also have points added to your commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you accumulate too many points, your CDL could get suspended.

In addition to the legal penalties, texting while driving can put you and others at risk. If you cause an accident while texting, you could get sued for damages. You could also get charged with vehicular manslaughter or other criminal charges.

Increased Insurance Rates

In addition to the legal penalties, if you cause an accident while texting and driving, you could end up having your insurance rates increased. If youre caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, your commercial trucking insurance rates might increase.

Loss of Your Job

If youre caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, you could get fired from your job. Some employers have a policy that prohibits their employees from texting while driving. Other employers may fire you for causing an accident while texting and driving.

So, if youre tempted to text while driving a semi-truck in Houston, remember the dangers and penalties. It’s not worth the risk.

The Consequences of Getting Caught Texting While Driving a Semi-Truck in Houston, Texas

The first offense of texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas, is a Class C misdemeanor. A person convicted of this offense may get fined up to $500.

The second and subsequent offenses are Class B misdemeanors. A person convicted of this offense may get fined up to $2,000 and may also face jail time of up to 180 days.

In addition to the penalties above, a person who is caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas, may also have their commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspended for up to one year. If the person causing the accident was texting at the time, they may also be liable for any damages that occur as a result of the accident.

As you can see, there are serious consequences for texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas. If you are caught doing this act, you could face heavy fines, jail time, and the loss of your CDL. It is important to obey the law and refrain from texting while driving in order to avoid these penalties.

How to Avoid the Temptation to Text While Driving

We’re all connected to our phones, and sometimes it can be difficult not to reach for it the moment you hear a notification. However, there are a few ways that you can avoid the temptation to text while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas, or anywhere else.

Keep Your Phone Out of Reach

One of the best ways to avoid the temptation to text while driving is to keep your phone out of reach. This means that you should put your phone in the glove box or another compartment in the truck that is not within arm’s reach.

By doing this, you will have to make a conscious effort to get your phone if you want to use it, which will hopefully deter you from texting while driving.

Turn Off Notifications

If you absolutely need to have your phone within reach, you can put it on Do Not Disturb mode so that you will not get bothered by notifications. This way, even if your phone is within reach, you will not be tempted to look at it if you are not expecting a phone call or text message.

Download a No-Texting App

There are also many no-texting apps that you can download onto your phone that will prevent you from being able to send or receive text messages while driving.

Some of these apps will also send an automatic reply to the person who is trying to contact you, letting them know that you are driving and cannot respond at the moment.

Remember the Consequences

If you are still struggling with the temptation to text while driving, it may help to remember the potential consequences of doing so.

For instance, if you get into an accident while texting, you could seriously injure or even kill yourself or someone else. In addition, you could also lose your job and end up with a hefty fine if you are caught texting while driving.

What to Do If You Get Caught Texting While Driving a Semi-Truck in Houston, Texas

If you get caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas, you may get fined up to $500. You may also be required to take a defensive driving course or have your commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspended for up to a year.

There are some steps you should take if you do get pulled over and cited for texting while driving. 

  • If you can, safely pull over to the side of the road
  • Turn off your engine and put your phone away
  • Be polite to the officer and do not argue with them

If you receive a citation, you will have to appear in court. You may want to hire an attorney to help you fight the ticket.

How Can an Attorney Help With Your Ticket for Texting and Driving? 

There are a few different ways that an attorney can help you if you have been ticketed for texting and driving. First, they can review the evidence to see if there are any holes in the prosecution’s case. If there are, they can use that to negotiate a reduced sentence or even get the charges dropped altogether.

Second, an attorney can help you understand what your options are and what the likely outcome of each option would be. This is especially important in cases where there is a risk of losing your commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Third, an attorney can represent you in court and fight to get the best possible outcome for your case. This is often worth it, even if it means paying a higher attorney’s fee, as the alternative is usually much worse.

Get the Representation You Need

If you’re caught texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas, you could face stiff penalties. Depending on the circumstances, you could end up with a fine of up to $500 or even jail time.

If you’re convicted of texting while driving, you’ll also have points added to your license, which could lead to higher insurance rates and other problems down the road. So it’s definitely not worth it to take the risk of texting while driving a semi-truck in Houston, Texas.

Do you need representation after getting cited for texting while driving a semi-truck? Contact us today for a lawyer who is experienced in working with semi-truck drivers.