Search Site
Menu
IBC Centre, 130 East Travis Street, Suite #425 | San Antonio, TX 78205
CALL FOR CONSULTATION 210-598-8629
Driving While Texting Ban Needs Clarity

October 7, 2010 marked the passing of a new city ordinance for San Antonians, in which the City Council unanimously adopted a ban on texting while driving. The new law went into effect on October 15, 2010, which allows police officers to issue citations and fines up to $200 for offenders, although warnings will be issued for the first 90 days.  The San Antonio ordinance prohibits using a “hand-held mobile communication device to send, read or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by Internet or other electronic means, engage in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle.”

The reasons for the new law are many, and some of the statistics are startling:

According to a report by the National Safety Council, cell phone use leads to about 1.6 million crashes a year, with about 200,000 of those accidents caused by texting and driving. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that about 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by drivers in the age group of 18 and 29 who openly admitted to texting while driving. In addition, the 2010 Pew Research Center driving statistics revealed that 47 percent of adults admitted to texting as compared to 34 percent of teenagers, contrary to some who believe that teenagers text more than adults while driving.

Across the nation, 30 states have prohibitions against texting while driving. In the state of Texas, San Antonio is among a growing member of cities to adopt this ban, joining Dallas, Austin, Galveston, and El Paso.  Local leaders who made the city-wide ban possible are now seeking support for a statewide initiative. In fact, State Senator Carlos Uresti has vowed to file a bill during the 2011 Legislature to ban texting while driving statewide.

According to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, most law-abiding citizens will now stop texting since it has become illegal, making the ordinance a good step forward in making driving safer in the city.

The ordinance should provide the community with significantly safer roadways, but it also may generate a number of situations that may cost citizens time and money. For example, the detection and enforcement issues are going to be very difficult.  How does a law enforcement officer distinguish dialing from texting, particularly when at a distance?

Detection from afar is obviously an issue, as stated, but what about the officer who decides to initiate contact with the citizen based on the belief the texting ordinance was being violated?  What if the phone has been turned off, or the message screen switched to another screen?  The enforcement difficulties are enormous.  Also, assuming a good faith stop has been made by the police officer, he or she may then take note of anything else potentially a crime, and more tickets, or even arrests could result.

The intent of the law is a good one, but the detection and enforcement issues could arguably outweigh its value, and may have the unintended effect of allowing the police to make traffic stops under the pretext of enforcing the texting ordinance.

Kevin L. Collins is a San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyer, former Prosecutor and is Board Certified in Criminal Law and Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

COVID-19 Notice
We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected] Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
Firm Recognition
  • Three Best Rated
Client Reviews
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Mr. Collins very professional very Great at what he does, he is the one to get the job done. I recommend him to anyone that needs help for whatever reason it may be.

    Read more

    Ryan DeLeon

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Mr. Collins is very professional and to the point. He always returned phone calls or emails in a timely manner. Kevin genuinely cared about his client and turned my familys bad situation into a best case scenario. Thank you Kevin for the help!

    Read more

    William Pair

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Kevin is the best criminal defense attorney in San Antonio hands down. He fought for me and handled my federal case with the highest degree of professionalism. I am very fortunate to have had Kevin represent me because he achieved a result beyond eve...

    Read more

    Artom Bogdanovich

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I don't think there is ever a way to thank Mr. Collins for everything he has done for my family. My husband hired him on a very difficult case. For any concern or question he and his staff were there to help, and always let us know he was on our side...

    Read more

    Samantha Renee

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I don't think there is ever a way to thank Mr. Collins for everything he has done for my family. My husband hired him on a very difficult case. For any concern or question he and his staff were there to help, and always let us know he was on our side...

    Read more

    Samantha Montoya

See all reviews
Case Results
State of Texas v. J.T. Furnishing Alcohol to a minor dismissed after start of trial despite death caused by accident
View All
Videos
Contact us

Quick Contact Form