Texas Is (Still) 1 Of 4 States Without A Ban On Texting And Driving
Despite multiple failed attempts in past legislative sessions, Texas is one of four states with no law against texting and driving.
This time around, lawmakers are optimistic about passing a bill that would make it a criminal offense to use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle in Texas.
Roughly three dozen Texas cities already have similar bans in place. San Antonio adopted a Hands Free Ordinance in 2010, which prohibits calling, texting and any other use of a hand-held mobile communication device.
Still, data shows more than 100,000 traffic crashes every year in Texas can be attributed to distracted driving, which is "any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving." There were 24,686 distracted driving-related crashes in Bexar County in 2015 – more than any other Texas county that year, by far.
A study of 19 U.S. states found that on average, there was a seven percent reduction in crash-related hospitalizations in states which enacted texting-while-driving bans.
Less than two weeks ago, 13 people died in a crash about 75 miles west of San Antonio when a truck crossed the center line on a curved road and hit their church bus head on. The truck's driver admitted afterward that he had been texting.
Will Texas become the 47th state to enact a law that bans texting while driving? Will drivers really put their phones away? How can we further curb distracted driving and make Texas roads safer for everyone?
- Rep. Tom Craddick - District 82, lead author of House Bill 62
- Laura Lopez, public information officer for the San Antonio branch of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
- Joel Feldman, speaker and advocate for EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving)
- Dr. Ioannis Pavlidis, director of the University of Houston’s Computational Physiology Lab and the lead author of the study "Dissecting Driver Behaviors Under Cognitive, Emotional, Sensorimotor, and Mixed Stressors"