Texas House approves ban on texting while driving


Highlights

The bill may not have enough support in the Senate.

Texas is one of just four states to not ban the practice.

Once again, the Texas House has given preliminary approval to a statewide ban on texting while driving. And once again, it faces an uphill battle to become law.

Preventing Texas drivers from using their cell phones behind the wheel has been a priority of state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, since 2009.

In a 113-32 vote, the House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to Craddick’s House Bill 62. The effort faces an uncertain future in the Senate because of opposition from conservatives who see the ban as a way to limit drivers’ freedom.

Craddick pitched the bill as a commonsense public safety measure. “It’s the major cause of accidents and deaths in this country and in this state,” he said.

A Senate committee on Monday approved Senate Bill 31, an identical measure, by a 6-3 vote.

The bill would assess a $99 fine on first-time offenders and a $200 fine on repeat offenses.

Craddick’s previous attempts have been defeated in various ways. Last session, the bill passed the House but did not have enough support to come up for a vote in the Senate. In 2011, it passed both chambers only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Rick Perry.

Forty-six states have banned texting while driving, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Using a cell phone while driving is also banned in Austin, among other Texas cities.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Peace be with you, but no touching: Flu season alters mass in this state
Peace be with you, but no touching: Flu season alters mass in this state

Widespread influenza across Maine has prompted the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland to alter some traditions to keep parishioners healthy. The diocese announced Thursday that it's suspending the sharing of consecrated wine during communion and holding hands during the Lord's Prayer. The diocese is also discouraging parishioners from shaking hands...
Texas joins legal battle against tree firm blamed in 2011 Bastrop fire
Texas joins legal battle against tree firm blamed in 2011 Bastrop fire

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Friday joined hundreds of other people in suing a tree-trimming company they blame for the 2011 fire that ravaged Bastrop State Park and Bastrop County. Asplundh Tree Expert Co., the lawsuit argues, diverted crews away from tree-trimming along the power lines it was responsible...
TRAFFIC UPDATE: All lanes of I-35 in Buda now open after crash, police say 
TRAFFIC UPDATE: All lanes of I-35 in Buda now open after crash, police say 

7:15 p.m. update: The crash has been cleared and all lanes of northbound Interstate 35 are now open, Buda officials said. 7:05 p.m. update: No major injuries have been reported in a crash that has shut down most of northbound Interstate 35 in Buda, city officials said Friday evening.  Three vehicles were involved in the wreck, officials said....
U.S. judge orders fixes to ‘still broken’ Texas foster care system

The Texas foster care system remains broken and continues to place children at risk, a federal judge ruled Friday, adding that state officials have shown a “troubling unwillingness” to fix problems the court had identified in a similar 2015 order. Overruling numerous objections raised by lawyers for Texas, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham...
Man arrested after Burnet County road rage shooting involving officer

BURNET COUNTY Man arrested after officer-involved shooting Austin police have arrested a suspect who a Cottonwood Shores man said shot at his family and an off-duty Austin police officer in an apparent road rage incident in Burnet County. An off-duty Austin police officer stopped along RM 1431 during the November incident and intervened at the time...
More Stories