Support growing at Capitol for statewide texting and driving ban

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas appears to be closer to passing a statewide ban on texting while driving. Gov. Greg Abbott’s office is no longer promising a veto, even though he did on the campaign trail. And Thursday at the state Capitol, it was evident there is widespread support for the bill.

Troy Abrams called his son Brandon “strong, courteous, adventurous and active.” He loved riding his bike and playing outside whenever possible. On Jan. 24th, 2013, the 6-year-old was waiting on the curb for the ice cream truck when police say a 17-year-old driver hit Brandon, killing him. Investigators say the teen admitted to dropping his cell phone and lost control trying to pick it up.

“Something as innocent as waiting for the ice cream man ended up putting him in the wrong place at the right time,” Abrams said. Now he is asking lawmakers to address distracted driving and make it illegal to text and drive everywhere in Texas. “I think it really needs to be a uniformed law across the entire U.S., not just Texas.”

Under the bill, drivers caught texting while driving could be looking at a fine anywhere between $99-$200. Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, first introduced the bill several years ago.

“I think personally it’s not worth a life for someone to text,” he said, “and I’ve had a lot of people talk to me about it and I just don’t think it’s worth it.”Texas texting bans

“One life and a family are worth more than someone being able to text in the car when they decide they want to,” Abrams added.

Abrams hopes the new bill passes so no other families have to go through what he did.

Abbott’s office said Thursday that the governor “will consider any bill passed by the legislature with the goal of making Texas better,” but would not elaborate any further. Former Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill back in 2011 and it also failed during the last legislative session.

In 2013, three representatives from our area — Tony Dale, Dawnna Dukes and Larry Gonzales — voted against House Bill 80. We reached out to them Thursday to see if their feelings have changed and so far have not heard back from any of them.

In the last few years, more than 20 cities have passed their own distracted driving rules in Texas, including Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Arlington and Denton. But Texas’ two biggest cities, Houston and Dallas, do not have any bans in place.

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