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Texas Is (Still) 1 Of 4 States Without A Ban On Texting And Driving

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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.

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? 

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.