Numerous sources are reporting that Texas lawmakers have passed a law that would put a statewide ban on text messaging, emailing, or instant messaging while driving. To become law, Governor Rick Perry has 20 days to either sign the bill, or allow it to become law without signature. The law made it through the State Senate with a 28-3 vote in favor after making some revisions to an earlier bill by adding some tougher language. The earlier bill would have made it illegal to send text messages, but allowed drivers to receive and read them. Many lawmakers determined that this distiction would be far too difficult to police and it was the opinion of many safety officials that any new laws covering this topic shoud do more to limit the number of vehicle crashes resulting from distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), the number of traffic related fatalities caused by distracted driving rose from 10 percent in 2005 to 20 percent in 2009, and this new law would hopefully improve those numbers.
Many will argue that violations of this law will be very difficult to prove. How will police officers be able to dicern if a driver is sending or receiving a text message or opening their smartphone to load their favorite application or scroll through their recently missed calls? The answer to that question, is that they won’t. However, adding statute that makes these activities illegal should curb some people from doing it. The law does have some exceptions however.
Drivers are still authorized to use hands free technology and make and receive phone calls. Those workers whose job require texting back and forth to a dispatcher is allowed as well.
Seems to me that this is going to be a very difficult law to manage. I agree with the intentions and the reasons for the law, but I am not sure that it will be successful. It seems to me that the only true way to avoid distraction free driving in a way that law enforcement officials could enforce would be to eliminate any cell phone use while driving. Let me know what you think?
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