The Texas House of Representatives recently passed a bill banning texting and driving. The bill was written by former House speaker Tom Craddick who years ago voted against Texas’ requirement for drivers wearing seat belts. After a three hour debate the house settled with a vote of 98-47. Should the bill become law it would make Texas the 40th state in the US to pass legislation outlawing texting and driving. However, Rick Perry announced publicly that he will veto the bill the first chance he gets.
Lawmakers are divided on the issue. Some believe the ban will save lives while others think the bans will not affect the reduction of vehicle crashes. One fact remains the same, however: distracted driving causes thousands of Texas car accident injuries and deaths each year. Should this bill become law it will give hundreds of car accident lawyers in Texas fodder for legal claims.
Texas Texting and Driving Bill Explained
If drivers are caught texting while driving, they could be charged with a $100 fine for the first offense and a $200 fine for the second offense. Although there will be a fine enforced, there are some exceptions drivers cannot be ticketed for when using electronic devices such as looking up a number, using GPS, or using a device in an emergency situation.
The bill also prohibits police from confiscating a driver’s phone, requires signs that will be posted along Texas interstates, and prohibit cities from making stricter ordinances. The bill also makes it illegal to read emails and text messages, which the bill’s authors advocate are just as dangerous as writing and sending text messages while driving.
The bill is named the Alex Brown Memorial Act in for a Lubbock teen that was killed in 2009 when she rolled her pickup while sending a text to her friends. She is one of many fatalities in Texas over the last few years.
This bill is an addition to current Texas law banning texting and driving and cell phone use among drivers with learning permits and new drivers. Texas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma also ban texting and cell phone use by school bus drivers and by all drivers in active school zones.
The Texas House or Representatives passed a similar bill the last time they were in session in 2011, but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry who said it was Texas drivers’ responsibility to make intelligent decisions while driving. He remains outspoken about his intentions for this bill as well, vowing that he will veto it and all other legislation the Texas legislature passes regarding cell phone bans for Texas drivers.
For more updates on the Alex Brown Memorial Act’s status please go to www.house.state.tx.us.
Let’s take a Vote
Where do you stand? Should we outlaw texting and driving in Texas or do you agree with Rick Perry’s stance that Texas drivers should make their own decisions about texting and driving?
If you or someone you love has been hurt by someone texting while driving, call a Houston accident lawyer today for a free no obligation consultation and learn your rights.