A Text Free Texas (#TxtFreeTX) doesn’t have to wait for the Legislature and Governor to agree on a bill making texting while driving against the law throughout the state. It can start right now. All you have to do is choose not to text, tweet, email, post to Facebook, surf the internet or otherwise drive distracted.
It is no secret that distracted driving raises the risk of fatal motor vehicle accidents. The Department of Transportation estimated that 81,000 accidents involved distracted drivers in 2012.
Texas is one of 11 hold-out states that have not passed comprehensive legislation banning texting for all drivers. Twenty-five cities throughout the state have taken it upon themselves to ban distracted driving caused by cell phones within their city limits.
“The Alex Brown Memorial Act,” or House Bill 63 was reintroduced by Rep. Tom Craddick of Midland and would, “[P]rovide a uniform statewide approach to curb this unsafe practice and will go a long way in helping educate drivers on the dangers posed by texting while driving and save lives.” But, there’s no guarantee that this will be the session that our Legislators and Governor can agree on a bill that prohibits texting for all drivers.
In vetoing texting while driving legislation previously, Governor Perry noted that he support efforts to stop texting while driving and curb distracted driving accidents, passing a law against it is “micromanaging” adult behavior.
Students at Texas A&M University have first-hand experience understanding the implications of texting while driving. The Texas Transportation Institute, a division of Texas A&M, conducted a study last year to determine the dangers of texting while driving. Students were asked to read and type text messages while driving on a closed course so researchers could observe their reaction times.
On average, the student drivers took their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds for each text that was sent or received.
Source: The Battalion, “Students confront difficulty of texting ban enforcement,”February 4, 2013