AUSTIN, Texas -- A state senate committee on Monday will consider a statewide ban on texting while driving.
House Bill 62 was passed by the Texas House of Representatives on March 16 by a 114-32 vote, however it was first heard in the Senate May 9. If passed by the Senate as is and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, drivers caught texting while behind the wheel face a $25-99 fine. Repeated offenders could see citations of $200.
This iteration of the bill has a lot of public support following the March 29 bus crash in Uvalde County that killed 13 people. Investigators say in that crash a 20-year-old man plowed into a church van, and the driver reportedly admitted to texting while driving.
"What we need is one, uniform state law that's across the board on Texans so people know what they can do and what they can't when they enter into the state,” said state Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland). “I think the odds are better this time because of the awareness. We need help from people to talk to their senators and tell them to support the bill. It’s up to us to solve it.”
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 105,000 crashes – 400 of which were fatal – were caused by distracted drivers in 2015.
A ban on texting while driving was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, but then-Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it. In his proclamation vetoing House Bill 242, Perry said it “is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”
TAP HERE to track the progress of House Bill 62.