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Texas may see more car accidents without texting ban

The Texas Senate is prepared for its third round in the battle to ban texting while driving. The legislation failed in 2013 and 2015 because some senators feared adding more laws to the books when existing laws already allow police to pull someone over for driving dangerously. However, advocates of the law feel it is past due. Too many drivers are dying each year in car accidents caused by distracted driving.

Texas is one of only four states that have not criminalized texting and driving. Each time a law is proposed, supporters return to testify about the moments they lost a beloved friend or family member in an accident caused by a driver who was distracted by his or her phone. Additionally, influential groups push for the law to be passed. These include law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, medical associations and cellphone businesses.

Nevertheless, opponents believe the law would micromanage adults. However, studies show that laws banning texting save lives and that drivers are less likely to engage in risky behavior if there is a chance they will get caught. In states where no cell phone ban exists, drivers were 17 percent more likely to use their phones than in those states with laws banning texting. Another report showed that texting bans seem to reduce accident fatalities by 3 percent and serious injuries by 7 percent.

While some cities in Texas have ordinances forbidding various distractions behind the wheel, one researcher believes a state-wide ban could save 90 lives a year. Other reports compare texting behind the wheel to the dangers of driving while legally intoxicated. Until the law is passed to ban cell phone distractions, it is likely that distracted drivers will continue to cause car accidents that leave families mourning loved ones and seeking ways to come to terms with a senseless loss.

Source: mrt.com, "Texting-while-driving ban remains an uphill climb in Texas", Chuck Lindell Austin, Aug. 31, 2016

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