by Gigi Allen
The Roar (Leander, Texas)
Texting while driving has been addressed in many states and will be discussed in Texas Legislature this year as a state wide ban. Texas is one of the six states that has not banned texting while driving, and this year the legislature may vote on The Alex Brown Memorial Act, filed by Texas Rep. Tom Craddick. The bill would make texting a Class C misdemeanor.
The bill would ban reading, writing or sending text messages unless stopped and outside traffic lanes. A similar bill was also pushed to pass in 2011, but was vetoed by former Gov. Rick Perry. Current Gov. Greg Abbott is also hesitant on the bill, expressing how he thinks it may be too much of a government intrusion. He said that as Texans, government involvement wouldn’t be appreciated.
“We don’t want people texting and driving, but we need to find a way to do it without too much government intrusion,” Abbott said.
Research conducted in 2013 by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute showed reaction times double when drivers are distracted by text messaging, one of the reasons why the bill is up for vote. Supporters are promoting a call to action wanting this bill to pass , making their arguments on March 19.
Krista Tankersley is one of many supporters urging for new regulations, working with lawmakers since she lost a loved one to texting while driving. She has brought her testimony to the House Transportation Committee and has been a feature in multiple articles, advocating for the bill. She even had a message for the Governor.
“I would tell him to put himself in this situation,” Tankersley said. “If he lost his son or his daughter or his wife due to a senseless act of someone finding it more important to look at their cellphone while they’re driving a 3,000-pound vehicle… do you really have a defense? Is there really a good argument about civil liberties?”
Though Texas doesn’t have a state ban, local providences have restrictions on texting while driving. It is banned for 18 and younger drivers, bus drivers, and all drivers in a school zone. The new bill will apply to all drivers of all ages. The bill is being voted on today by Texas House of Representatives.
Photo Credit: The Roar