Legislature discussing bill to make texting while driving illegal

AUSTIN (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Members of the state House are discussing legislation to make texting while driving illegal.

House Bill 63 would make texting and driving a Class C misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $100, or $200 if the person has been convicted of the same offense.

Members against the legislation have cited the laws ramifications regarding personal freedom, problematic enforcement of similar laws and question whether laws prohibiting texting and driving in other states are effective. Members for the legislation have cited the public safety impact and dangers of driving while texting.

Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, said he is a “no” on the bill but that he is waiting to hear amendments presented on the House floor today. Schaefer said there are too many exceptions being discussed to make the law clear to Texas motorists about what is legal and not legal. Schaefer said the state and communication providers should focus on behavior modification through educating residents of the dangers of texting rather than passing the bill. “Absolutely (texting while driving) can be dangerous,” he said. “But there are other activities, an argument, screaming kids, putting on makeup or reaching over to the floorboard, that create dangerous situations as well.”


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