Texas Legislature Passes Bill to Ban Texting While Driving

Legal gavel on a law book
Legal gavel on a law book

The Texas Legislature recently passed a bill that would ban writing and sending texts while driving. The bill — House Bill 242, sponsored by Tom Craddick, R-Midland — now awaits the signature of Governor Rick Perry. If signed into law, drivers could be fined up to $200 for texting while driving.

While the bill covers writing and sending texts, lawmakers eliminated the proposal to ban reading texts while driving. Opponents to that aspect of the bill claimed that reading an e-mail or text poses a similar risk as applying make-up or changing the radio station. The ban would also allow drivers to send e-mails, texts, or instant messages while stalled at a stop sign or traffic light.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is becoming a major threat on America’s roadways. In 2009, distracted driving caused 20 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. In the same year, distracted driving killed 5,474 people and injured 448,000 more, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving. Houston Car accident attorney explains The NHTSA distracted driving into three categories: visual, manual and cognitive. Texting while driving involves all three of these forms of distraction.

The NHTSA has found that drivers that use handheld mobile devices are up to four times more likely than other drivers to be involved in crashes serious enough to cause personal injury. Using a cell phone while driving — whether using a handheld or hands-free device — has the same effect on drivers as a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration.

Texas’ texting while driving ban would put the state in the company of 32 other states that have banned the practice. Hopefully, measures like this ban will reduce the number of distracted driving car accidents and make Texas’ roads safer for everyone.