window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-29484371-30');
Tuesday , October 23 2018
JustLikeThat728
TESTIFY 728X90
728×90 pluck b
SUNLANDPARK 728X90
Home | Tag Archives: texas texting ban

Tag Archives: texas texting ban

Abbott Proposal Would Nullify City Rules on Distracted Driving

Last month, Texas became the 47th state to pass a statewide texting-while-driving ban. Now, with a special legislative session approaching, Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing for legislation that could roll back stricter mobile phone laws already in place in more than three dozen Texas cities.

Complaining of a “patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas,” Abbott called last week for a measure that would pre-empt local ordinances that go beyond the statewide texting ban.

The ban, signed into law last week and set to take effect Sept. 1, pre-empts only local regulations relating to a driver’s ability to “read, write, or send an electronic message.” The broader pre-emption Abbott favors would block local governments from “any regulation of mobile devices in vehicles,” effectively nullifying tougher cellphone regulations in about 40 Texas cities — including Austin, San Antonio and El Paso — where drivers are required to use hands-free devices for phone calls.

State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, who authored the texting-while-driving measure, said he would oppose such pre-emption both because it could weaken mobile usage laws and because he believes the issue should be left to local governments.

“When it comes to driver use of cellular devices, I think the cities and the locals ought to have the right to do what they want to do,” Craddick said.

Police departments in several cities that currently regulate all handheld cellphone use emphasized that hands-free ordinances play an important role in public safety.

“Holding your phone in your hand is still some kind of distraction,” Corpus Christi Senior Officer Travis Pace said.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, the law’s Senate sponsor, said she will file a proposal during the special session that would create a statewide hands-free law — a measure that would accomplish the governor’s goal of uniform statewide legislation while strengthening restrictions on mobile phone usage behind the wheel across the state. She filed a similar measure, Senate Bill 67, during the regular session, but it never got a hearing.

“With the governor’s leadership and support, perhaps we can pass a better bill that sets a statewide standard,” Zaffirini said.

More than a dozen states already ban handheld cellphone use.

Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, proposed an amendment to the texting-while-driving measure that would have established the broad pre-emption that Abbott favors. The amendment failed, but Rinaldi said he is considering a similar proposal next month.

“The pre-emption ensures that we have one uniform law and that everybody knows what it is,” Rinaldi said. He added that the more stringent regulations currently in place in some cities do not necessarily ensure greater public safety.

Craddick said it is difficult to predict how a pre-emption proposal might fare in the special session, but he recalled that many legislators seemed “adamant” during the regular session about letting cities regulate the issue.

Abbott’s call for the mobile phone pre-emption is one on a slate of local control issues he has put on the agenda for next month’s special session. The governor has also taken aim at issues such as spending, trees on private land and construction project rules and permitting.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Some of the 20 topics Gov. Greg Abbott is asking the Texas Legislature to consider during a special session have been his priorities since his State of the State Address in January. On some of the other topics, though, he’s been relatively quiet. [link]
  • Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that creates a statewide ban on texting while driving. [link]
  • Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18. Abbott said that after legislators address a bill to keep some state agencies from shuttering, he’ll add another 19 items to the agenda. [link]

Author:  EMMA PLATOFF – The Texas Tribune

Gov. Abbott Signs Statewide Ban on Texting while Driving

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that creates a statewide ban on texting while driving.

The measure, authored by state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, goes into effect Sept. 1. This is the fourth session in a row Craddick has tried to pass such a ban.

“By enacting this public safety legislation, the governor is saving lives by deterring this dangerous and deadly behavior,” Craddick said in a statement. “For a long time, Texas has needed this law to prevent the loss of life in unnecessary and preventable crashes and we finally have it.”

Former Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a similar proposal in 2011, calling it a “governmental effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.” Abbott hesitated for several days before signing the bill, prompting speculation that he was undecided on the ban.

The governor announced that he had signed the bill at a press conference Tuesday, when he also announced a series of priorities for a special legislative session to start July 18. Among those priorities is further work on the ban, which Abbott said “did not fully achieve my goals.”

“I was not satisfied with the law as it was written,” Abbott said Tuesday. “Now that Texas does have a statewide ban on texting and driving, I am calling for legislation that fully pre-empts cities and counties from any regulation of mobile devices in vehicles. We don’t need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”

The law includes a provision to pre-empt local ordinances that govern a driver’s ability to “read, write, or send an electronic message.” But Abbott said Tuesday he hopes for broader legislation that fully pre-empts local governments from passing “any regulation of mobile devices in vehicles.” A broader pre-emption measure would impact dozens of cities — including Austin, San Antonio and El Paso — that currently operate under stricter mobile regulations.

Andy Duehren contributed to this story.

Author:  EMMA PLATOFF – The Texas Tribune

Outlook Good for Statewide Texting-While-Driving ban, Key Lawmakers Say

After pushing the issue for nearly a decade, key lawmakers in the Texas Legislature are optimistic that a statewide texting-while-driving ban is within reach.

Texas is one of four states that do not have a statewide ban on texting and driving. That distinction has drawn renewed attention in recent days following an accident in West Texas in which a truck driver who was texting and driving crashed into a church bus and killed 13 senior citizens.

State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, author of the texting ban bill that recently passed the House, said about the accident: “It’s a tragic situation. It’s a wasted situation.”

Craddick, who has pushed for the ban for four sessions in a row, offered condolences to the victims, their families and the church in a statement last week.

“No message or e-mail is important enough to risk injury or death while driving on our Texas roadways,” Craddick said.

If Texas had passed a texting-while-driving ban when Craddick first filed a bill creating one in 2011, Texas would have been the ninth state to pass such a law, he said. If House Bill 62 passes this session, it will be the 47th.

In 2015 and 2013, Craddick’s proposal passed the House but died in the Senate. In 2011, it traveled through both chambers only to be vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry, who said it would “micromanage the behavior of adults.”

In the 2015 session, a group of conservative senators helped kill the proposal, arguing that it could lead to unreasonable searches by police, among other concerns.

This year, both Craddick and the measure’s most vocal advocate in the Senate, Judith Zaffirini, are hopeful the measure will draw enough support in the upper chamber and Gov. Greg Abbott will sign it.

There are some members in the Senate who have voted against a statewide ban in the past that are now saying they are going to vote for it, Craddick noted.

One of them is state Sen. Craig Estes, who said in March, according to KUT, “When we first started working on this, I was a ‘no,’ and then I almost had a terrible wreck.”

Other senators have changed their minds over the years as they have grown more sensitive to the prevalence of the issue and the consequences of inaction, Zaffirini said.

“The first time I carried it in 2009, nobody was interested in it but I kept on. Now more people understand it,” Zaffirini said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also changed course on the legislation. In 2011, he said to pass a law on texting and driving is “one more nanny state intrusion on our lives.”

This session, he said in a radio interview on KRLD, that he is uncertain whether there is enough support in the Texas Senate for the ban, but suggests he backs it. “Personally, I don’t think people should be taking their eye off the road,” Patrick said. “I have evolved on the issue personally over the past several years. It’s clear now it’s a serious issue.”

Under his proposal, offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor and be fined $25 to $99. Repeat offenders would have to pay between $100 and $200 in fines.

Craddick pointed to research from Alva Ferdinand, an associate professor in health policy and management at Texas A&M, who has said a statewide ban could prevent 90 deaths a year. The most effective way to curb deaths related to people texting-and-driving is to make it illegal, he said, comparing the move to the law that people in cars wear seat belts.

“No one ever thought seat belts would go into effect and now it’s just standard use to buckle up. Only once it became law did most people start to buckle up,” Craddick said.

About three dozen Texas cities already have a texting-and-driving ban in place. Cities would still be allowed to implement ordinances that are stricter than the proposed state law under the current version of the legislation.

Read more:

Author:  SANYA MANSOOR –  The Texas Tribune

Video+Story: Texas House Passes Statewide ban on Texting while Driving

The Texas House on Wednesday passed a statewide ban on texting while driving.

Members voted 113-32 to tentatively approve the legislation, which will get a final vote in the House before it can proceed to the Senate. A Senate committee has passed a similar measure.

Texas is one of four states that do not have a statewide ban on texting and driving.

Under the measure passed by the House, offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor and be fined $25 to $99. Repeat offenders would have to pay between $100 and $200 in fines.

For years, the bill’s author, state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, has pushed legislation that would penalize drivers who use their phones on the road.

In 2015 and 2013, Craddick’s proposal passed the House but died in the Senate. In 2011, it traveled through both chambers only to be vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry, who said it would “micromanage the behavior of adults.”

About three dozen Texas cities already have a texting-and-driving ban in place. Cities would still be allowed to implement ordinances that are stricter than the proposed state law.

In a tweet, House Speaker Joe Straus congratulated Craddick on what he called “common-sense” legislation.

Opponents of the bill raised concerns about how a police officer could tell that a person was texting, especially because the legislation said officers could not take and inspect the phone.

“I find it absolutely incredulous, except for Superman, who can tell what you are doing on your phone,” said Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., a Houston Democrat, who noted law enforcement may not be able to distinguish between someone who is texting or using GPS.

In response, Craddick said that law enforcement have said they can consistently tell if people are texting.

Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, tacked an amendment onto the bill that says police officers cannot arrest people for texting while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every day in the United States, more than eight people are killed in crashes that involve a distracted driver.

Craddick noted Wednesday that more and more families lose loved ones to distracted driving and no Texas laws target the offense.

“That’s the sad part because those families have somehow been affected by some type of accident or death that’s happened because of no texting while driving [ban],” Craddick said.

Related coverage

Author:  SANYA MANSOOR – The Texas Tribune

TESTIFY 728X90
JustLikeThat728
728×90 pluck b
SUNLANDPARK 728X90