The Texas Legislature has done a number of controversial things during its regular and special sessions but there’s certainly an action that ought to receive universal approval and support.
The legislature passed and sent to the governor a bill which would prohibit texting while driving. When it goes into law, as soon as Sept. 1, Texas will become the 31st state to enact such a ban.
It speaks volumes (gigabytes?) about our current society that such a law is even needed. You’d think anyone would know taking your eyes, at least one hand and your mind away from the complex chain of events driving a motor vehicle involves would be dangerous.
Apparently not. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2009—the last year for which statistics are available—there were 100,000 vehicles involved in crashes in which some form of “driver distraction or inattention” was involved.
Not all of those involved texting or cell phones, of course. There are other ways to have your attention distracted or diverted in a vehicle—any parents out there?—but you can bet some of them were.
The new bill does not ban texting from within vehicles, of course. Passengers are free to tap away and drivers may do so providing they pull over and stop.
Why wouldn’t you want to do that anyway?
By the way, DWT is not limited to younger drivers. Law enforcement officers say they’re observing drivers of all ages moving their eyes, and their attention, from the windshield to the small screen of a personal device.
The law does not ban drivers talking on cell phones, or dialing numbers for a purpose of instituting a phone call.
But many municipalities, including Rockdale, already have separate laws banning the use of cell phones by drivers in designated school zones.—M.B.