Will Texas be the next to approve legislation on a statewide ban against texting while driving? This past Friday, the House made a preliminary approval of HB 243 which seeks to “prohibit text, electronic and instant messaging for a motorist while driving.”
Those who support the legislation have continually commented on how much “safer” state roads would become. However, if passed, the legislation would not prohibit the reading of text messages, nor the sending of text messaging while at a stop sign or traffic light. The legislation would also permit text communication which is voice activated and displayed on the dashboard of a vehicle. So really how much “safer” are roads going to be, and as Rep. Larson, R-San Antonio, points out—how can you adequately enforce such a law.
Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, author of HB 243, states it’s all about “saving people’s lives.” Supporters believe this legislation would calm the concerns stemming from young drivers today, which seem to be “the ones who are texting more than anybody” (Rep. Jose Mendez & Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio).
Currently, thirty (30) states have laws that ban texting while driving and Texas is one step closer to becoming number thirty-one (31). That means—beware drivers because a violation would be a Class C misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $200. But, before any law would take effect on September 1, 2011, the Senate must still approve.