Families tell their stories in hopes of passing ‘texting while driving’ legislation

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Law enforcement and victims came to the Capitol Thursday to speak from their hearts. All of them told stories about how a crash caused by texting while driving shattered their life or someone they knew. HB 40 (statewide ban on texting while driving) by Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, passed the House earlier this session and is expected to pass the Senate Committee.

Jennifer Zamora-Jamison’s husband of 14 years survived the Iraq War. But on a two way road in Fort Worth, a driver came into his lane and hit Javier’s car at 60 miles per hour. His former Captain spoke to her at the funeral.

“Captain coming up to me and crying and telling me, Jennifer I brought him home. I said ‘I know, you did. You did your job. We just didn’t do it stateside,'” said Jennifer.

Their daughter Maxine was in the car with her dad. She survived the crash but the trauma from that day continued to haunt her and pushed her to commit suicide. “She wrote, her last journal entries were, ‘losing my dad is killing me slowly. Every day, a little bit more,'” said Jennifer.

Jennifer took her story to lawmakers hoping to convince them a statewide texting while driving ban would save lives. She says the driver who hit and killed Javier was reaching for her phone prior to the crash.

“We were not prepared for combat deaths on U.S. highways and PTSD in our family of children,” she told the committee. Her family’s story is one of many. As technology becomes ever present in our lives, they say our roads at home have only gotten more dangerous.

Several key conservative Senators argue this would be a government intrusion into people’s personal lives. That’s the same reason why former Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the measure two sessions ago.

A committee vote is expected Monday to move it on to the full Senate.

Texas is one of only four states without laws banning some level of phone use. Thirty-two states ban texting and driving. While no statewide ban exists in Texas, 40 cities restrict phone use on the road. Those include two cities in our area – Austin and Meadowlakes – which is just outside of Burnet. Other large cities with either texting or phone use bans include San Antonio, Amarillo and El Paso.

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