AUSTIN (KXAN) — The House Transportation Committee voted Tuesday to pass the bill that would ban texting and driving statewide. House Bill 80 now goes to the House Calender committee to get scheduled for a vote of all 150 members of the Texas House.
“Many thanks to Chairman Pickett and the members of the House Transportation Committee for their time and attention to our effort to save lives. And thanks to the family members of individuals who lost their lives to a texting crash and many supporters who were at the hearing to testify in favor of the bill,” said Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland. “I am elated House Bill 80 has been reported favorably by the committee and is moving through the legislative process. I truly believe this legislation will ultimately save lives.”
The bill is known as the Alex Brown Memorial Act, after Alex Brown, who died in a crash on her way to school. Texting and driving caused the crash.
“The death of any Texan because of a texting crash is unnecessary and preventable,” Craddick said. “We must give all law enforcement officers this tool to keep our roadways safe and put into place a statewide law that will deter drivers from texting while driving. If this bill passes and saves one life, it will be worth it.”
Under the bill, drivers caught texting while driving could be looking at a fine anywhere between $99-$200. Craddick first introduced the bill several years ago.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s office is no longer promising a veto, even though he did on the campaign trail. Abbott’s office said they “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.
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.