AUSTIN (KXAN) - So you have your "no texting while driving" law. Your "can't-talk-on-a-cell-phone-without-a-hands-free device-while-in-a-school zone" law. Teens cannot use a cell phone for six months following getting a license is another law.
But does it all work? One researcher from Illinois said it does. While the numbers for his study are out of the state of New York, he said that he may be looking at Austin's roads in the near future.
"So in areas which are very urban-like we see in Travis County here in Austin where the licensed driver density (number of licensed drivers per square mile) is in order of about a thousand, so you would actually see a significant drop in personal injury accidents if you have laws in place," said Jacobson.
He admitted there may be a problem translating his New York findings to national trends.
However, Commander Jason Dusterhoft of the Austin Police Department does see similarities, and the numbers could apply to a place like Central Texas where there is a mix of both urban and rural drivers. He said that the larger the population, the fewer the phone-related accidents.
"Personal injury accidents actually showed a statistically significant drop when hand-held cell phone bans were put in place," said Dusterhoft.
Both said the laws are almost useless without enforcement.
"The more people, the more vehicles, the more chance that the time you take -- five seconds -- to look down is going to cause you to either a lot of money, or a lot of grief, or God forbid, hurt, injured or killed," Dusterhoft said.
Dusterhoft said this is the first time that the raw numbers have been looked at in Texas because laws are just barely more than one year old. Therefore, looking at the numbers and comparing them may take some time.
Dusterhoft's department is looking into maintaining enforcement and education. He said making people accountable for their actions is the best deterrent of all.
"I've told my highway enforcement people, my officers, that if they see things like this, this texting thing and they could pull them over and whether they give them a warning or they give them a ticket, we need to make sure the people are being held accountable," said Dusterhoft.
The Austin Police Department will start its holiday enforcement in a few weeks. Dusterhoft said looking for distracted drivers will be on officers' holiday lists.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early Thursday will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
Former Georgetown Police Officer Stephanie Brown said her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock Officer Eric Poteet, made up accusations against her after she broke up with him.