The Texas Senate approved a bill on Friday, May 19th, that would ban texting and driving and the use of handheld devices while behind the wheel. The final step to becoming law is a signature by Governor Greg Abbott, who will review the bill later this week.
Should Gov. Abbott sign the bill into law, the state of Texas would be the 47th state with this sort of distracted driving ban.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the bill, named HB 62, was written by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini and state Rep. Tom Craddick, and has language explicitly outlining how the ban applies specifically to texting, but allows for the use of GPS and mapping tools on the phone.
The ban would also allow for use of a phone when the vehicle is not in motion and in case of an emergency.
TxDOT says that distracted driving is the cause of over 100,000 Texas crashes each year, with more that 21% of drivers admitting to reading or sending text messages or emails while driving a car.
“I have waited 10 years to make this motion,” Zaffirini said.
The bill and its supporters await the signature of governor Greg Abbott, who is scheduled to review the bill Friday, May 26th.
A similar bill made its way to former-Texas governor Rick Perry, who vetoed the bill, calling it “over-regulation of Texas drivers.”