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Texas drops legislation to stop texting and driving

For now, the Texas legislature has dropped a state-wide ban on the use of hand-held devices, including cell phones, when operating a motor vehicle. Although some cities have already passed laws addressing the issue, House Bill 63 would have replaced them. However, even after it passed by a significant margin in the House, it remained stuck in the Senate and was never brought to the floor for a vote.

The representative who wrote the bill expressed his disappointment that it failed to generate the needed votes. He added that it helps prevent the car crashes that happen when people text and drive and keeps the roads safer, especially for young people who seem to engage in the irresponsible behavior more often. Another representative added that the sophistication of newer phones increases the risk of accidents.

Many organizations, including cell phone companies, backed the bill and felt that the state should enforce the ban on cell phone use while driving. The governor, who had previously vetoed similar legislation, reportedly was considering signing the bill if it passed. However, one member of the panel said that he didn't think the governor would back the bill even if the Senate passed it.

The sponsor of the bill said that if he is re-elected, he will against propose a similar bill. Cell phone bans while driving are enacted in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Two dozen Texas localities also have the bans in place. Four of the country's phone conglomerates have backed a huge campaign against texting and driving.

The bill would have allowed the state to file criminal charges against someone who is texting and driving. However, a personal injury lawyer might be able to help parties file a civil lawsuit against someone who is involved in this risky behavior if they injure or kill someone as result.

Source: Amarillo Globe News, "Home > News > Local News Comment Share on print Share on email More Sharing Services Share on twitter Share on facebook Follow This Article Statewide texting-while-driving ban dies", Enrique Rangel, May 25, 2013

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