Defensive Driving Blog

Texting and Driving – A New Law on the Horizon

Members of the Texas House of Representatives had a preliminary vote on March 25, 2015 that passed House Bill 80, banning texting and driving in Texas.

At about the same time, AAA released a new report on how distractions played a factor in almost six out of every 10 crashes – four times as many as had been thought.

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These two events mark the increased concern Texans have had over texting and driving. According to 2013 data, 459 Texans died in distracted driving crashes. Distracted driving can, of course, refer to more than just texting but law enforcement concur that teens and texting are contributing the most to the increase in crashes. One state trooper says that teens are used to texting and multitasking but not as familiar with driving a car. This is the time in life when all their attention needs to be on driving.

House Bill 80 would ban texting and driving. It would be considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of between $25 and $99. Currently 39 states along with Virgin Islands, Guam and the District of Columbia prohibit texting and driving. Drivers in Texas would still be able to make phone calls or use voice activated or hands free technology, use GPS or report illegal activity or an emergency. The bill, as it stands now, would allow texting while stopped in a travel lane, like at a red light.

Representative Chris Paddie is on the committee where the bill was originally heard and supports it. “I think when we talk about government infringing on our personal freedoms, that’s certainly one thing but when it crosses over into public safety where it not only can affect you but certainly can affect someone else, I think government needs to look at that, “ Paddie said.

Watch the news for more information on this important bill and if you find yourself with a ticket for any reason log into WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

Link to House Bill 80 is here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/html/HB00080I.htm

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