House passes texting while driving bill

FILE - Woman driving in Austin while on her cellphone. (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Woman driving in Austin while on her cellphone. (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A statewide texting while driving ban cleared another hurdle Wednesday afternoon. After a couple hours of discussion and several amendments, the Texas House voted to approve House Bill 62 111-62.

Critics of the bill argue a statewide ban would be an infringement on Texans rights. One amendment approved Wednesday states the first offense would be $99 and $200 for a subsequent offense. Some say they are concerned that $200 isn’t enough of a deterrent.

A few of the amendments brought up on the House floor revolved around the cost municipalities would incur to enforce this law. HB 62 will still allow drivers to text in an emergency situation and does not include using GPS.

This is the fourth time lawmakers have attempted to pass this type of legislation in Texas. The bill’s author, State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, says he is confident that this year it will pass both legislative chambers. “The lieutenant governor has told me he supports it, so I think that we’ve got a pretty good chance,” says Craddick.

Currently, Texas is one of four states in the country without a statewide ban on texting and driving. The bill still needs one more vote before being sent to the Senate Committee.

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