Advocate editorial board opinion: Texas should ban texting while driving

Many of us have done it, and we know it is just plain risky.

Texting, instant messaging or e-mailing while driving is a distraction that could lead to a serious accident or a fatality.

We agree that such practices while driving cause a serious safety issue on our roads and highways.

Now, Texas legislators are considering changes to the laws pertaining to texting when they meet in January.

Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, would have texting, instant messaging and e-mailing banned while driving.

Other lawmakers plan similar bills and would add that hands-free devices would be exempt from the law, so it is likely that such a law would pass in 2011.

Here in Victoria and in the state, we already have a law restricting talking on cell phones in school zones.

Some new legislation filed would increase the penalties for those using a cell phone in school zones.

We think texting is much worse than talking on a cell phone and should not only be banned in school zones but all highways and roads.

A Texas Traffic Safety Culture Survey by the Texas Transportation Institute in conjunction with Texas A&M University found that 52 percent of Texans agree that banning mobile phone use should be a law.

The survey was conducted at 10 Texas Department of Public Safety driver license stations across the state and queried 1,167 drivers.

Eighty-five percent of those answering the survey say texting or talking while driving is worse than it was five years ago.

We think most agree that a law banning texting, worse than talking on a cell phone, be on the books.

Our roads are safer because of engineering and stepped-up law enforcement, but this additional law would ensure drivers a better sense of safety on our highways.

If you must text, e-mail or instant message, pull over to the nearest safe place to do it.

We discourage use of such devices while driving, and we think that soon, law will prohibit the practice.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.