New texting and driving law in Texas

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

There will be a statewide ban in Texas for texting while driving, effective Sept. 1. State Rep. Tom Craddick,  the author of the bill, hopes that this ban will save lives and prevent accidents caused by distracted driving.

This new law will focus on the act of using a cellular device for messaging or hands-on activity. While Texarkana remains an exception, a handful of cities in Texas have initiated hands-free laws, which place a much stricter ban on cell phone usage while driving.

The new law will be enforced by charging first-time offenders with a $25 to $99 fine, and repeat offenders with a $100 to $200 fine. Offenders can receive a Class A misdemeanor charge in addition to these fines.

The push to pass this bill has come from past distracted driving accidents as car wrecks are the number one leading cause of death for teens. However, Abbott was reluctant in signing this bill, claiming that Texas does not need to micromanage citizens.

“I was not satisfied with the law,” Governor of Texas Greg Abbott said. “I am calling for legislation that fully preempts cities and counties from any regulation of mobile devices in vehicles. Texas does have a statewide ban on texting and driving. We don’t need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”

Texans (especially teens), have mixed feelings on the final product that will come from this law.

“When someone in authority tells people our age not to do something, we are most likely going to do it,” junior Hayden Fant said. “‘Don’t drink until you’re 21’, ‘don’t cheat on a test’ and ‘don’t do drugs’ are just many examples of rules that authority figures set, but are not followed.”