Texas Again Takes Up Banning Texting While Driving

Tuesday, a Texas lawmaker is pushing for a statewide ban on texting while driving.

Loved ones who have had relatives killed by distracted drivers are testifying in support of it at the state capitol.

One North Texas community already has the ban and said it’s making the streets safer.  Since Nov. 2011, it’s been against the law in Arlington to text, tweet, or do anything on your cell phone besides talk while driving.

“On our way here, a guy, he was texting and almost ran us off the road. We had to blow our horn at him.  It’s a big issue,” said Arlington resident Lawanda Williams.

Williams said even a trip to the store can be treacherous for her and her family sharing the road with texters behind the wheel. 

“There’s a lot of accident[s] because people wanting to text and drive at the same time.  I think it’s wonderful," said Williams.

In the past 15 months, police have handed out 65 citations at $200 each, at least 21 written warnings and countless verbal warnings.

Sgt. Chris Cook, with the Arlington Police Department, said it’s all about educating violations about the dangers of distracted driving.

“The goal is to make Arlington roadways the safest in the nation by focusing on multiple contributing factors related to crashes –- that is reducing crashes related to distracted driving, speeding, seatbelt non-compliance, intersection violations, and alcohol and drug impairments,” said Cook.

A Texas A&M study revealed a driver’s reaction time doubles when distracted by reading or sending a text message.

“They ought to ban for sure texting,” said driver Jerry McWhorter. “To save lives, you bet they need to do that."

Texas Representative Tom Craddick wants the entire state covered by a texting while driving ban.  Tuesday the House Transportation Committee is hearing for loved ones who have truly been impacted by distracted driving crashes.

The bill is named after Texas teenager Alex Brown.  She was killed when her truck rolled while texting on her way to school.

In 2011, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have banned texting while driving statewide saying it was an "overreach" and a "government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."

To date, 39 states have already banned texting behind the wheel.

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