Editorial board opinion: Texas considers a statewide ban on texting while driving
By the Advocate Editorial Board
March 10, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated March 9, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
Tom Craddick, R-Midland, introduced House Bill 243, which would ban texting while driving anywhere in Texas. Currently, the law prohibits texting in school zones and any use of wireless communications by drivers younger than 18.
Texas House Bill 55 prohibits drivers from using wireless communication devices in school crossing zones unless the drivers are using hands-free devices. In addition, bus drivers are prohibited from using wireless communication devices as long as minors are on board, unless the buses are stopped or there is an emergency situation.
House Bills 2730 and 339 restrict drivers younger than 18 from using wireless communication devices at all while operating motor vehicles.
Probably, many of us have engaged in texting while driving. Nowadays, staying connected seems to be of the utmost importance, and the act seems innocent enough.
But we think texting while driving is dangerous and should be regulated, as the Texas Legislature is attempting to do. Such legislation would be addressing a safety issue.
We realize that many would argue that government should stay out of our affairs. And we tend to agree on most issues, but when safety is involved, we have to agree with laws that help keep us alive.
Both sides of the aisle in the Legislature seem to agree, according to the Associated Press.
We have said it before about texting that it is unsafe to do while driving. Here in Victoria and in the state, we already have a law prohibiting talking on cell phones in school zones.
New legislation would address texting, cell phones and any device requiring the use of hands.
AP cited Lisa Chapa of Mission. Chapa's sister died while texting and driving in November.
"Texting and driving changed the course of my family's life," Chapa said. "It needs to have more severe consequences. Maybe one person will understand that this does happen -- it happened to us, and it can happen to them."
Many more examples of people texting dying or killing someone can be told. All of this simply says, that that texting and driving don't mix, just like alcohol and driving don't mix.
According to AP, studies have shown that texting while driving is the equivalent of having a 1.6 blood alcohol level.
In the broader scope of the issue, drivers should be paying attention to driving, not texting or other activities that distract or impair.
We hope for all our sakes that legislation is passed prohibiting texting while driving. One more safety measure will add to the overall safety of our highways and will save lives in the process.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.