For the fourth time, state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, filed a bill Monday that could outlaw texting while driving across Texas.
Though the bill has failed three times before, Craddick continues his fight -- one he believes will save lives.
"I am proud to propose this bill again during this upcoming 85th Texas Legislative Session," Craddick wrote in an op-ed published by the Midland Reporter-Telegram. "The bill will create a traffic violation for smartphone use while driving. With few exceptions, the law would not allow a driver to read, write or send electronic messages while driving."
Jeff Weinstein, a personal injury attorney in Athens, supports the proposed legislation.
"Probably 30-40% of the cases I see now involve some form of either using the phone, texting, eating, bending down to pick something up in the car," said Weinstein.
Six years ago, he founded No Distracted Driving (NODD) -- an initiative to educate teens on the dangers of driving distracted. Since its inception, Weinstein has spoken at dozens of Texas high schools, and his message has reached more than 100,000 students, he said.
"They already know it's dangerous to use your phone and drive but they still do it," explained Weinstein. "It's that whole theory 'it will not happen to me. I'm only doing it this one time' and there's that false sense of security: 'I did it and nothing bad happened.'"
Texas currently bans drivers under age 18 from using electronic devices while behind the wheel. Bus drivers are also prohibited from cell phone use.
Meanwhile, 46 states in the U.S. outlaw texting for all drivers. Though Texas is not one of them HB 62 would change that, if passed during the 2017 legislative session.\