Texas is not just the Lone Star State, we are almost the Lone Texting While Driving State. Only four states have refused to pass anti-texting laws.
That’s stupid. At least 450 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in Texas last year.
Isn’t it time to put an end to this lunacy? Texting while driving is obviously dangerous.
An often-cited study found that a driver takes her eyes off the road for an average period of five seconds to type or read a text message. At 55 mph, he or she blindly drives the length of a football field while their eyes are glued to the phone screen.
And this problem is becoming an epidemic. In 2010, officers cited driver inattention as a crash factor in 86,006 car and truck accidents.
Passing Safety Laws is not “Government Intrusion”
Last year Gov. Greg Abbott explained why he opposed statewide anti-texting legislation: “We don’t want people texting and driving, but we need to find a way to do it without too much government intrusion.”
You may remember that our state legislators disagreed with this lame argument and banned texting in 2011, only to have their law vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. In the next session in 2013, the bill would have passed, but Governor Greg Abbott stated he would veto it so it never passed. It failed again in 2015 for this reason.
Our safety is the government’s job. Lawmakers prohibit driving while intoxicated, passing a stopped school bus, or speeding.
Hurst is Latest Local City to Take Action
To date, 60 cities in Texas have passed local laws that forbid texting while driving.
Hurst just banned distracted driving several weeks ago. The new local ordinance bans use of hand-held devices, including cell phones, tablets, and games, unless the driver has to make an emergency call, is using GPS or Blue Tooth, or has parked the vehicle away from the road.
The Hurst police chief was the chief advocate for the new rules: “Since the state isn’t doing anything on this, we wanted to follow what other cities have done.”
The police chief also cited a study that revealed that three-fourths of Hurst residents favored more restrictive rules. The Hurst City Council changed its law after learning that there have been over 20 percent of crashes — 200 collisions each year –caused by distracted driving, a huge increase.
Will 2017 Be The Year Texas Lawmakers End Texting While Driving?
The crazy patchwork of laws from city to city is confusing and less effective than a statewide ban. I settled a case last week after proving the at-fault driver was texting while driving in Arlington, which he didn’t know was illegal.
As the 2017 session approaches in January, lawmakers have the opportunity to respond to what Texas communities obviously want — a law that protects us from distracted drivers.
These legislators opposed a no-texting law last session and have vowed to keep up the fight:
- Senator Konni Burton, Fort Worth
- Senator Brian Birdwell, Granbury
- Senator Brandon Creighton, Beaumont
Let your state representative and senators know you want to be protected by a law that prohibit texting while driving.