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Proposal To Ban Texting While Driving Moves Forward

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) A proposal that would ban texting on mobile devices while driving has moved forward in the Texas Capitol.

The House Transportation Committee voted 6 to 1 in favor of the bill on Tuesday, moving the proposal to the full House for consideration. Already in place in the state of Texas is a ban on mobile devices for drivers under the age of 18.

Currently, texting while driving is illegal in 39 states. Several Texas cities have ordinances on the local level making texting while driving illegal. Those Lone Star cities include: San Antonio, El Paso and Austin. The new, proposed measure would make it illegal to text while driving statewide.

While Rep. Tom Craddick calls the new proposal “the bipartisan bill of the session,” Texas’ governor Rick Perry calls the idea “government micromanagement.” In 2011, Governor Perry vetoed a similar texting while driving proposal.

Many law makers and law enforcement officials find direct parallels between texting and driving to driving while intoxicated.

According to data collected by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, instant and text messaging while driving is seen as one of the biggest distractions while driving.

In 2007, a study observing more than 900 teens from 26 high schools nationwide, revealed that text-messaging while driving had become  increasingly dangerous in terms of inhibiting a teen’s driving abilities. The study further found that cell phone use while driving accounts for 2,600 vehicle fatalities and 300,000 collisions annually.

According to a survey of teen drivers by AAA, 46 percent of the teens text message while driving and 51 percent talk on cell phones while driving. AAA further reported that car and traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 20 years old.

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