Just when you thought that driving around Dallas – Fort Worth wasn’t dangerous enough, soon people will be doing that while watching their favorite shows.
AT&T is initially billing the vehicular live streaming service as an opportunity for parents to entertain restless kids in the back seat during long drivers. However, no doubt drivers will stream this to the front seat and watch as they drive.
While the price is $40 per month, the true cost will be the countless serious crashes caused by distracted drivers.
Will This Be Legal in Texas?
Texas law prohibits a television, DVR, DVD, or other similar equipment if the equipment is located so that the video display is not visible from the operator’s seat. This is unless the transmission is in park or the parking brake is applied. TEX. TRANSP. CODE, Section 547.611.
A screen for a monitoring device that is used only for navigation is exempted — and what vehicle in the last few years doesn’t have one?
You can bet that as soon as the technology is available, drivers will start watching on the dashboard screen. And that police — and lawyers for injured people — will not be able to prove they were watching and that is the reason the automobile or truck collision happened.
Texas laws do not adequately protect the public from distracted drivers. No statewide ban on texting while driving exists, and 40 cities have had to enact their own local ordinances that ban the practice.
Why We Must Do More To Stop Distracted Driving
On Friday night in Nacodoches, a young woman drove into a tree, killing two area women, Rajeen Williams, age 21, from Burleson and Geena Zanick, 18, from Flower Mound. Although the details of how this tragic collision happened are not available, you can guess that distracted driving may have been involved.
3,179 people were killed and approximately 431,000 were injured here in car wrecks involving distracted drivers in 2014. I anticipate that the 2015 statistics will probably be worse when they are released.
Statistics show that other kinds of distracted driving greatly increase the chance of a crash including:
- Dialing a phone, which increased a driver’s chance of an accident by 12 times, was ranked the number one most dangerous distraction.
- Reading and writing increased chance of an auto crash by 10 times.
- Reaching to pick up an item, excluding a cell phone, increased risk of crashing by nine times.
- Texting resulted in a six times increase in risk of a wreck.
- Reaching for a cell phone increased the risk by almost five times.
- Browsing the Internet and reading email nearly tripled a driver’s chance of crashing.
Statistics also show that at any given time, more than 50% of drivers are not watching the road.
It is Time for State Leaders To Take Action
Former Governor Rick Perry vetoed legislation that passed in 2011 and in 2013, the bill died in the Senate after Gov. Perry made clear he would again veto any such legislation that limited drivers’ rights to be distracted. Again, an anti-texting bill died in the Senate in 2015, and would have been vetoed by Governor Greg Abbott.
Not only should texting and talking while driving be unlawful in the state, but Texas lawmakers should crack down on all distracted driving. Hopefully, those in the 2017 legislative session that begins in January will finally be the ones with the wisdom to ban texting while driving.