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Friday, April 08, 2011

Texas Texting While Driving Ban Passes

Last month's proposed bill for a statewide ban on texting while driving has successfully passed Texas House, by an overwhelming vote of 124-16. The bill would prohibit the reading of messages while inside the vehicle, but would still allow it if there is a red light, or if the vehicle is completely stopped.

Tests have shown that someone distracted by texting or reading emails is 20 times more likely to get involved in an accident than a drunk driver.

While it has already passed, the bill has yet to undergo a procedural House and Senate review. A motorist caught writing, reading or sending a text message or email would be given a Class C misdemeanor and may be fined from $1 to $200.

This bill excludes the operation of GPS devices and drivers are still allowed to use voice-activated devices that will allow them to send messages.

Certain points were raised, such as the number of other states that have already imposed such a ban, stories shared by legislators with texting-while-driving casualties under their jurisdiction and if this bill would limit personal freedoms.

Sixty percent of the nation already has bans, and why shouldn't Texas be equally concerned? While the bill was modified a bit before voting last Wednesday, legislators still find value that lessening that chance to be distracted while driving, even if it allows them some form of it would be enough of a reason to get this bill passed.

The final reading will be on April 8 and the upper house is expected to support it. The Senate would still have to pass the bill before the law would take into effect later this year.

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