Lawmakers propose legislation to stop distracted driving in Texas

A mother shares her emotional story on losing her son as lawmakers propose legislation to put a stop to distracted driving.

HOUSTON- For the fourth time, Rep. Tom Craddick (R) filed a bill to create a traffic violation for smartphone use while driving.

This type of legislation hits home for Joyce Osborne.

“February 12th I got the phone call,” said Osborne. “Thomas had been Killed in a crash and my first question to the officer was, ‘was he texting and driving?’”

Osborne’s 30-year-old son, Thomas Klohn, a father of three, was texting on his cell phone when he struck a guardrail on his way home from Arizona. Police found his cell phone ringing about 100 feet from Klohn’s burning truck.

“That text that he was in the process of sending was so mundane it could have waited,” said Osborne. “It could have waited and it only takes a few seconds and a few seconds can alter many lives.”

The closest Texas has come to a state-wide distracted driving ban came in 2011. Rep. Craddick authored a bill that passed through the Senate and House only to be vetoed by then Governor Rick Perry. Perry called for educating drivers rather than enforcing what he called, ‘a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.’

KHOU 11 contacted the Texas Department of Transportation to see how the state followed up on educating the public about distracted driving. In fiscal years 2014 and 2015 the ‘Talk.Text.Crash’ campaign expended $2,668,434.49. The funds for the program are federal funds received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Osborne and other Texas families affected by distracted driving accidents have pledged their support of Rep. Craddick’s House Bill 62. You can read the bill in its entirety here.

“My message to lawmakers this session is go talk to parents that have lost their kids,” said Osborne. “Think about your own children it’s a preventable death.”

Nov. 14 was the first day state lawmakers could file legislation for the upcoming 85th Legislative Session which starts January 10th, 2017.

If you are interested in the distracted driving bill, contacting your local lawmaker is the best way for your voice to be heard.

 


 

(© 2016 KHOU)


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