East Texans on both sides of possible state texting and driving - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

East Texans on both sides of possible state texting and driving ban

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TYLER (KYTX) - A bill that would ban texting and driving in Texas now on it's way to the state senate, and East Texans are rallying both for and against it.

It's not the first time a bill like this has been debated. Midland Representative Tom Craddick introduced the bill this session, and it has passed in the house.

Last session, a similar bill passed in both the house and senate, but was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. Now, as the bill heads back to the senate, East Texas citizens and politicians are split on what they want to happen.

The powerful public service announcements from the organization, It Can Wait that you see on your television are meant to show how dangerous texting and driving can be -- but are they enough to really stop the problem?

Some Texas lawmakers don't think they are. That's why they've created state bill 63, a ban on texting and driving.

"It's a safety issue and lives are at stake. You're talking about one accident, one second, and you can't reverse time. You can't take those lives back," says Tyler mother Janet Stanford.

When she talks about her support of the statewide texting and driving ban, she's thinking of her three children.

"They're 17, 14, and 10."

She agrees with the bill, saying she wants her 17-year-old daughter to know that there are real consequences to her actions.

"She obeys me but I think it would help to have backup, a legal back up, because it's too dangerous," Stanford said.

However, Representative Matt Schaefer is with other state politicians like Governor Rick Perry, who oppose the bill.

"In other jurisdictions where it is banned, I think people still do it. I think they hide it and put it in their lap which takes their eyes further off the road, and that's even more dangerous," Schaefer says.

Like Governor Perry, Schaefer says a law like this would infringe on citizens' rights. They both say the answer to the problem is education through outlets like PSA's and driver's education.

If this were to pass, it would be a misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $100 dollars. Multiple offenses could raise that fine up to $200 dollars.  To become a law, the bill has to go through committee and pass in the senate. Then it will need to be signed by Governor Perry.

To see the original bill introduced in the house, click here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/HB00063I.pdf#navpanes=0

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