Statewide Ban on Texting While Driving Goes to Texas Senate - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Statewide Ban on Texting While Driving Goes to Texas Senate

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    A statewide ban on texting while driving may soon become the law of the land in Texas after several years of coming up short. (Published Friday, April 7, 2017)

    A statewide ban on texting while driving may soon become the law of the land in Texas after several years of coming up short.

    House Bill 62 was passed with overwhelming support in the Texas House of Representatives and is now headed to the Senate.

    The legislation picked up a major endorsement Friday in State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, who said he's committed to getting this law passed.

    "I've come to the realization that the state of Texas needs to act to stop the carnage on our roads," the senator said.

    Huffines has been no friend to a statewide ban in the past, but says after hearing from his constituents and realizing technology wasn't going to fix the problem, he's supporting the legislation this time around.

    "There is no perfect solution, but it is a solution. It's a tool in the toolbox that we need to use to make our roads safer," Huffines said.

    Huffines said he was also swayed by the tragic church bus crash near Uvalde last week. Thirteen people died after their bus collided head-on with a pickup truck. A witness told investigators that the driver told him he was texting prior to the crash. Cell phone video taken moments before the crash shows the driver, Jack Young, swerving into the opposite lane of traffic.

    "Was it the catalyst? Yes, it was. We have got to stop this dangerous behavior on our highways," Huffines said.

    Huffines's change of heart is some of the best news James Shaffer has received in the last year. On April 9, 2016, he lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. The driver who hit them was texting while driving.

    "When you've been personally touched by this and you've lost your wife and daughter, and your son is distraught over them every day, that'll fire anyone up that has a heart," Shaffer said.

    Shaffer testified in front of a House committee before the legislation was passed. He hopes more opponents put their political ideology aside and "do the right thing."

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