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

AUSTIN ANSWERED: Why don’t gas stations get credit card chip readers to thwart skimmers?
AUSTIN ANSWERED: Why don’t gas stations get credit card chip readers to thwart skimmers?

The ability to pay at the pump makes getting gas a quick, relatively painless chore. Unfortunately, it has also made it incredibly easy for thieves to steal your credit or debit card number and rack up hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of bogus charges. The devices used to do this are called skimmers. They’re so small they can...
Austin getting $350,000 in ‘talent hub’ funding for degree completion

Austin’s got talent, and the potential to develop a lot more. Hence, it comes perhaps as no surprise that it was named Monday as one of 17 “talent hubs.” Each of those communities is getting $350,000 to help boost education and training beyond high school. Funding comes from the Indiana-based Lumina...
Man accused of recording woman in smoke shop bathroom, groping another
Man accused of recording woman in smoke shop bathroom, groping another

The operator of a smoke shop near the University of Texas been accused by Austin police of using his iPhone to record a woman in a bathroom while groping another. Police have charged 22-year-old Manesh Vislavath with invasive visual recording and assault by contact. He was booked into the Travis County Jail on Saturday, with bail set at $5,000. According...
As AISD superintendent delivers bond update, protesters rally outside
As AISD superintendent delivers bond update, protesters rally outside

Austin district Superintendent Paul Cruz tonight is scheduled to provide trustees an update on the $1.1 billion bond, even as protesters against the bond measure prepare to rally against it. The administrative bond update is likely to include information about recent information sessions and last week’s media bond tour. The $1.05 billion bond...
New York Times op-ed claims ‘Texas is no longer feeling miraculous’
New York Times op-ed claims ‘Texas is no longer feeling miraculous’

An opinion piece published Friday by the New York Times starts off, “Call it the season of Texas’ discontent.”  Author and Texan Richard Parker offers reasons like Hurricane Harvey’s “$180 billion in damage”; a flawed and “ideologically driven” Legislature; and a troubled oil and gas...
More Stories