Distracted driving has become a serious issue in our country, and the Lonestar State is not exempt. Here in Texas, in 2011, cell phone usage was the contributing factor in 3,147 auto accidents- including 40 fatal ones. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers are 23 times more likely to crash when text messaging behind the wheel (2009). Recently, Texas drivers have had to begin to adhere to a few new laws, one of which is related to distracted driving. Previously, Texas law mandated that cell phone use behind the wheel was prohibited in active school zones, unless the vehicle is stopped or if a hands-free device is being used. After the recent modification, cell phone use behind the wheel is now banned on all school property, which includes parking lots and drop off lanes. Violations of these new guidelines could cost you a fine of up to $200. As in in the past, stopped vehicles and those drivers using hands-free devices are exempt. Officials are keeping their fingers crossed that this new measure will cut back on distracted student driving. Craig Miller, Dallas school district police chief, has stated, “Anything that focuses people’s attention is a good thing.” Lawmakers are attempting to eliminate distracted driving on a national scale as well. Congress recently made grants available to those states that were enacting laws that allow police to stop drivers for texting while driving. This was an unprecedented act, and 38 states jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately, the way that Congress chose to define terms such as “driving” and “texting”, only seven states were awarded the grants. The states that did not qualify for the grants have laws that ban texting on cellphones and not all texting-capable devices, do not ban texting while a driver is stopped, or because their definition of texting does not apply to surfing the Web behind the wheel. Only Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Guam were awarded the grants. Efforts are constantly being made to ban distracted driving throughout the country. If you have been involved in a car accident due to a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced Texas personal injury attorney to assist you.