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

Dump truck driver fled after North Austin crash that severely injured man, police say
Dump truck driver fled after North Austin crash that severely injured man, police say

A dump truck driver fled after he was involved in a crash on Interstate 35 that was reported early Monday, Austin police said. The driver, 30-year-old Elieser Samora, is charged with failure to stop and render aid after an accident involving serious bodily injury. A 28-year-old man had severe brain damage after the crash and is currently in critical...
Abbott asks disgraced congressman to foot bill for special election
Abbott asks disgraced congressman to foot bill for special election

Gov. Greg Abbott wants Blake Farenthold to foot the bill for a special election the governor has called to replace the disgraced former congressman. Abbott on Wednesday sent a letter to Farenthold, a Corpus Christi Republican who resigned from Congress in early April amid sexual harassment claims, demanding that he cover all costs for the upcoming...
Police: Former Adidas employee stole $2,600 from Round Rock store
Police: Former Adidas employee stole $2,600 from Round Rock store

A former employee of an Adidas shoe store at the Round Rock outlet mall has been accused of stealing $2,600 from the store, an arrest affidavit said. Frank Rodriguez III, of San Marcos, was charged with theft, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail. An Adidas regional loss prevention manager told police he found $2,600 missing from...
Man seriously injured after crashing into tree at Burleson Road, Metropolis Drive
Man seriously injured after crashing into tree at Burleson Road, Metropolis Drive

A man has potentially life-threatening injuries after he crashed into a tree at Burleson Road and Metropolis Drive on Wednesday evening, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. Medics responded at 6:27 p.m. The man, estimated to be in his 20s, was taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. 
Austin man charged with online solicitation of a minor
Austin man charged with online solicitation of a minor

An Austin man sent nude pictures of himself to a police officer posing as a 15-year-old girl online, an arrest affidavit released this week said. Charles Cantu, 25, was charged with online solicitation of a minor, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail. A Georgetown police officer posted an ad on Craigslist posing as a 15-year-old...
More Stories