Texas House passes statewide texting ban

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A statewide texting while driving ban may move one step closer to reality today. House Bill 80 goes to the floor of the Texas House of Representatives for a vote this morning. Texas’ longest serving Representative, Tom Craddick hopes the third time’s a charm with this bill after some failed attempts in years past.

When he originally filed the bill, only 9 states has passed a statewide texting and driving ban, now more than 40 states have passed it.

If it passes, HB 80 would expand on current legislation that outlaws texting in school zones and would prohibit all texting even if you’re stopped at a red light or stop sign.

Under the bill, if you’re caught texting and driving anywhere in the state.. it could cost you anywhere from $99 to $200 for repeat offenders.

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

This time, the idea of implementing a statewide ban on texting and driving may have a better chance of getting the governor’s approval.

Governor 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.

In 2011, former Governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill and in 2013, the proposal failed to pass the legislature.

Update at 5 p.m.: On second reading, the House passed HB 80 102-40.

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