Archive for July 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.

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