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Texas Lawmakers Renew Push on Statewide Texting and Driving Ban

Texas lawmakers are trying again to pass a statewide law banning texting while driving. A similar measure passed in the Texas House and Senate last legislative session, but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry.

Today, Texas Rep. Tom Craddick’s House Bill 63 is getting its first public hearing. The bill is going before the House Committee on Transportation.

Several of the bill's 18 joint authors are scheduled to address the committee. Several family members of individuals who have died in traffic accidents related to texting and driving will also testify in favor of the Alex Brown Memorial Act.

Rep. Craddick’s bill is named after Alex Brown, a West Texas teenager who lost her life in a car accident caused by texting and driving in 2009. The Alex Brown Memorial Act also would ban emails, tweets and Facebook postings while driving.

In the Texas Senate, State Sen. Judith Zaffirini’s Senate Bill 28 would prohibit texting while driving across the state.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2011, more than 81,000 traffic accidents were linked with a distraction in a vehicle or cell phone use, resulting on 361 fatalities. Nearly one in four crashes in Texas involves distracted driving. Butother studies raise questions as to whether texting bans really make roads safer.

Twenty-five cities in Texas already have texting and driving bans. Austin and San Antonio are among them. Thirty-nine U.S. states have a statewide ban.

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