Archive for 2017

It’s Official – No Texting and Driving in Texas!

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Texas becomes one of the last states to adopt a ban on texting and driving. It is something that has been in the works since 2011 and was passed but vetoed by then Governor Rick Perry. A number of Texas cities have adopted their own texting and driving laws.  This state law will cover only texting and will prohibit a driver from using hand held devices to “read, write or send electronic messages.” It goes into effect Sept. 1, 2017.

But it may change before that time. Governor Greg Abbott, who signed House Bill 62 into law, has called a special session on July 18 to further work on the ban because it did not meet all of his expectations. Of most concern to him is that the law needs to pre-empt any city laws already in place regulating mobile devices. He would like the laws to be consistent state wide. This would greatly impact at least 45 Texas cities, including El Paso, San Antonio, Denton and Austin, whose laws are currently stricter.

This law makes texting while driving within the state punishable by a fine of $25-$99 for 1st offenders and $100-$200 for repeat offenders. It does not address “hands-free” issues that are outlined in some city laws. Texas does forbid cell phone use in school zones and by bus drivers.

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In 2014, 3,179 people in the U.S. were killed due to distracted driving, with 431,000 injured. The prime culprit to distracted driving these days is cell phone use. It is estimated that texting while driving makes a car accident 23 times more likely to happen.

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This is a good ban and a necessary one. Texans will be safer if we will embrace these rules. And when the rules of the road need to be reviewed, just log into Wirelessdefensivedriving.com.

Celebrating the Chisolm Trail, Texas style.

Little known fact – this year marks, more or less, the 150th anniversary of the Chisolm Trail. And what is that you ask? In simple terms it was the route taken by Cowboys herding Longhorns north to Kansas. But the complexities are mind blowing.

Following the Civil War, Texans were in dire straits where work was concerned. Returning Confederate soldiers and a busted economy made jobs scarce. The one thing we had a lot of was Longhorns, outnumbering people 6:1. Prices here were modest but back East you could get 10 times the price. Figuring out how to transport them was the issue. It turned out to be so difficult, what with stampedes, river crossings, Indian tribes and such that (long story short) the trail was established only to Abilene, Kansas, where a train depot promised transport farther east.

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In Texas the stories of trail life are plentiful but there are ways to personally experience some of the lore. Check out the Chisolm Trail 150 website for specific events but here are a few highlights:

  1. King Ranch in Kingsville. Established by Richard King in 1853. A visit here includes a museum, Longhorn watching and tour of the ranch.
  2. Cuero’s Chisolm Trail Heritage Museum. Open since 2013, this is the best way to experience the realities of the trail, with a chuck wagon replica and interactive cowboy exhibits.
  3. Waco Cow Toll Bridge. In 1870, Waco opened the suspension bridge that made easier work of traveling the Brazos River, for a price. Now walking the bridge is one of the city’s favorite activities, along with viewing the Longhorn sculptures in the adjacent park.
  4. Fort Worth Stockyards. One of the best places to truly learn about the Chisolm Trail, with Longhorns on parade twice a day and a “cow camp” on weekends. The stockyards are known for their accuracy, down to all the attire.
  5. Fort Griffin Longhorns. A special breed and a sight to see. Assembled in 1941 as the state’s “official herd”, these majestic creatures differ in their horns and color variations.

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Whatever your reason for taking on the Chisolm Trail, you will not go away unimpressed. And on your travels remember to drive safely. Should you need any Defensive Driving pointers make sure to log into Wirelessdefensivedriving.com.

Great Texas Mosquito Festival

Celebrate Mosquitos? Where Else but Texas!!!!

But it is true. In Clute, Texas (55 miles southeast of Houston, near the coast) they not only celebrate them, they have a festival named for them – The Great Texas Mosquito Festival. Why? Let’s take a look.

Celebrating 37 years, the festival is scheduled for July 27, 28, 29 and attracts 13,000 plus visitors a year. In 2014 The Top Events USA named it as one of the Top 20 events and festivals in and around Houston. created, honestly, to encourage tourism in the city of Clute, it includes a “Mosquito Chase” 5 K Run and 600 meter Kids run on Saturday, Mosquito Calling and Mosquito Legs contests.

 Great Texas Mosquito Festival in Clute TXBut why mosquitos? Have you not been to the Texas coast? The story (tale) goes that a mosquito, “Will-Man-Chew”, came across Clute in 1981 and liked what he saw.  Deciding to settle there, he brought together his ambassadors or “Swat team” to every year present three fun-filled days of special events, games, food, carnival rides and contests, craft booths, cook-offs and much more, honoring him and his fellow mosquitos. That’s the story and they’re sticking to it, in fact, you can meet Willie at the festival – unless, of course, you are wearing bug spray.

Go online to www.mosquitofestival.com for all the information you need on this unique Texas festival and make plans to visit Clute. Especially check out their music lineup – over the years there have been some notable names, such as Asleep at the Wheel in 1982, Selena in 1994, Three Dog Night in 1996, Ronnie Milsap in 2000, Marshall Tucker Band in 2005 and The Texas Zydeco Band in 2008.

Wherever you head in Texas this summer don’t forget your sunscreen, bug spray and Rules of the Road. Safety on the Texas highways is our priority. Log into WirelessDefensiveDriving.com for all your safe driving information or just to dismiss a ticket.

Texas Wildflowers season

TEXAS IS WILD – WITH FLOWERS THAT IS!!

This time of year it is a great pleasure to travel the roads of Texas and take in the many colors that are Texas wildflowers. These stunning displays used to be grouped together and talked about as a whole. But there are many varieties and the best known have their own folktales. Let’s travel down the road a bit and take in some color.

Always singled out of the group is the bluebonnet. It tends to be one of the earliest and most vibrant bloomers. Comanche lore tells of a bitter winter when the medicine men thought they would need to sacrifice their prized possessions to placate The Great Spirit and one of the young girls took her doll that was adorned with blue jay feathers and when all were asleep she burned it and scattered the ashes in the wind. The following morning the hillsides were covered in blue.

Texas Wildflowers

Although traditionally blue, horticulturists have been experimenting with the variants on color. So now it is not unusual to find white, pink or a lovely shade of red. The pink ones have a legend of their own. It is told that a grandmother near San Antonio, many, many years ago, told her grandchildren that the pink ones had been found along a river downstream from the Alamo. It had been white but so much blood had been shed that it turned it pink. She said to always remember that the pink ones are a symbol of the struggle to survive and those who died to set Texas free.

Similarly, the well-known Indian Blanket wildflower is said to have been all yellow but when Cortes invaded Mexico in 1519 the flowers were permanently stained by the blood of the Aztecs. This is only one of the many tales of Texas wildflowers but represents how tied these legends are to bloodshed.

The two wildflowers are well known but another also dominates the landscape. No spring bouquet would be complete without Indian Paintbrush. It often accompanies bluebonnets because it is a parasitic plant – meaning it relies on other plants to grow. It can also be called Painted Lady, Prairie Fire and Butterfly Weed. Native American folklore dictates that an artist asked The Great Spirit for guidance on where to find colors to paint a sunset. The Spirit told him where to find brushes with vibrant colors and as he painted on a hillside, he discarded the brushes on the ground.  The next morning, you guessed it, the hills were covered in Indian Paintbrush. At least this one is not dominated by bloodshed.

There are too many Texas wildflowers to list and discuss. For more information on this, you cannot beat Texas Highways magazine and an article by Jane Kellogg Murray.

As you drive the highways and byways of Texas try to stop and smell the…..wildflowers? Whatever your destination, stay safe and for all your driving safety needs log into WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

Happy New Year – Defensive Driving in 2017

Make a Resolution to take Defensive Driving in the New Year!

It’s true, it’s true….. While browsing suggestions online for automotive New Year’s Resolutions, we came across a site that, among other things, suggests that everyone take a defensive driving course in the New Year to help fix bad driving habits and establish some new, good ones. Really, you can check it out at Autonxt.net. If you are reading this blog you are already in the right place to make that resolution come true – WirelessDefensiveDriving.com!

New Year Defensive Driving

So yes, it was on the list but there were many other great ideas in addition to taking a course. In no particular order, here are a few suggestions for ways to make your car better and you safer in the New Year:

Change Your Oil on Time

This is one area that many websites emphasize when it comes to paying attention to your car’s needs. It not only extends the life of your car but cuts down on wear and tear. Put it on your calendar now.

Be More Chill

Vow to calm down on the road this year. That is if you are prone to road rage. Allow people extra space in front of you instead of tailgating. Don’t cut people off or fly into a rage if they cut you off. Relax a bit more and focus on good driving habits.

Get a General Check Up

Have a professional check over your vehicle this year to be sure nothing has worn out and is about to create a problem. Have a qualified technician check your brakes, tires, hoses, belts and battery. A little preventive care can buy a lot of peace of mind.

Check Your Insurance

The beginning of the year is a great time to review your insurance coverage. Did you add someone this year? Do you have enough coverage for your young drivers who tend to get into more accidents? After you have an accident is the wrong time to find out that your coverage is inadequate.

Vow Not to Text

This is perhaps the best resolution. Make a promise to not text and drive and you will be safer in the long run. There are over 100,000 crashes in Texas a year that are caused by distracted driving with texting being at the top of that list. Do yourself a favor and put the phone down.

Whatever your resolution for 2017, let it be a safe and prosperous year for us all. And look no further than WirelessDefensiveDriving.com should you want a refresher course or need a ticket dismissed.

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