Statewide ban on texting while driving advances out of committee

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A statewide ban on texting while driving is moving quickly through the Texas House.

Members of the transportation panel on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of the bill authored by veteran Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland. It’s the third time the House has approved the ban.

Advocates for the texting-while-driving ban have been engaged in a full-court press to get the bill to the governor’s desk and signed into law after two failed attempts.

In 2011, then-Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the measure because he viewed it as an “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.” Last session, the bill was bottled up in the Senate transportation committee.

So far,advocates say they’ve met some resistance among tea party-aligned members in the Senate who expressed concerns about government interference and raised questions about the effectiveness of a ban.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has not taken a position on the ban. But advocates say they’re encouraged by conversations with the governor’s staff on the issue.

In a written statement, Craddick said he was “elated” by the panel’s approval of what he considers life-saving legislation.

“The death of any Texan because of a texting crash is unnecessary and preventable,” Craddick said. “We must give all law enforcement officers this tool to keep our roadways safe and put into place a statewide law that will deter drivers from texting while driving.”

The bill will be sent to the House Calendars Committee to be considered for floor debate. (Courtesy of DallasNews.com)

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