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Texas

Statewide Texting-While-Driving Ban Is Close To Becoming Law

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Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News.
After receiving information from Austin police aboard the Cap Metro bus, this officer pulled over a driver suspected of driving while distracted. Austin's ordinance is far broader than the statewide bill banning texting while driving.

From Texas Standard:

in 46 states, texting while driving is illegal. But not in Texas. It appears that could change on Tuesday. Though many cities in Texas ban using smartphones while driving, a bill is en route to the governor's desk that specifically outlaws texting while driving. But your apps and GPS might still be within legal reach.

 

Ben Wear has been tracking this shift as Transportation Reporter for the Austin American-Statesman. He says the state bill covers far fewer in-car smartphone uses than local laws because that's what bill sponsor Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) was able to get passed in the legislature.

"Basically, it refers to electronic messages being something you can't do with a handheld device while the car is moving," Wear says. "What that referred to was basically texting and emailing."

What you'll hear in this segment:

– Whether bans on texting and other smartphone use can be enforced effectively

– How much attention legislator gave to potential law enforcement abuse of a texting ban

– What happens to local ordinances that already address smartphone use by drivers

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