According to the Austin American-Statesman, despite a teary hearing at the capital yesterday to ban texting while driving, Texas Governor Rick Perry stands firmly against enacting a law to regulate the dangerous habit but rather strong education programs to enlighten citizens to stop using their phone for such actions while driving and only use hands-free phone options while behind the wheel.
The reaction from Perry aide Lucy Nashed would seem to bode ill for state Rep. Tom Craddickâ€™s second attempt to push through a law barring adult drivers from texting or emailing while driving a moving vehicle. Perry vetoed a similar bill by the Midland Republican and former House speaker in 2011, calling it a â€œgovernment effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.â€
â€œGov. Perry continues to believe texting while driving is reckless and irresponsible, and as he noted last session, current law already prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from texting or using a cell phone while driving,â€ Nashed told the American-Statesman in an email. â€œThe key to dissuading drivers from texting while driving is information and education, not government micromanagement.â€
Craddick, after listening to a series of emotional witnesses replay the loss of loved ones to texting-related wrecks, said after the hearing that heÂ hadn'tÂ yet spoken to Perry about the proposed law this session.
â€œIf we get the bill passed, I do intend to go talk to (Perry),â€ said Craddick, who said heÂ doesn'tÂ engage in text messaging at all, driving or not. â€œItâ€™s all about saving lives, not about whether I text or not.â€
The legislation, House Bill 63, would impose a fine of up to $100 for anyone caught reading, writing or sending a â€œtext-based communicationâ€ on a hand-held device while driving. That would include other portable electronic equipment, such as notebooks and tablets. Doing any of the above while the car is stoppedÂ wouldn'tÂ be a violation.
The maximum fine for a second offense would be $200.
At least 39 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving as have 23 Texas cities. Austin was the first to do so, in 2009.
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