Last month, the Texas House passed a statewide ban on texting while driving.
Members voted 113-32 to tentatively approve the legislation, which will
be up for a final vote in the House before it can proceed to the Senate.
Texas is one of only four states in the country that do not have any statewide
ban on texting and driving. According to the measure passed by the House,
first offenders would be subject to a misdemeanor and could be fined up
to $99. On the other hand, repeat offenders could be fined up to $200.
Texas actually tried to pass a ban on texting while driving at least three
times in the past:
- In 2011, the Texas Legislature was successful in passing a statewide ban,
but it was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry.
- In 2013, a similar bill was passed but died after the Senate Transportation
Committee refused to allow a vote on the bill.
- In 2015, another bill banning texting while driving was introduced passed
the House but was defeated in the Senate.
About three dozen Texas cities already have a texting-while-driving ban
in place. Cities would still be allowed to implement ordinances that are
more severe than the proposed state law.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 455 people were killed
and more than 3,000 suffered serious injuries in collisions caused by
driver distractions in 2016. On average, one out of every four car accident involved a cellphone.