Texting While Driving

via Xconomy

Texas lawmakers in a transportation committee say they want to make 2015 the year Texas bans texting and driving statewide.

via Xconomy

Starting today, you won't be able to have your phone in your hands while driving your car, or while riding your bike.

The Austin City Council passed an ordinance in September prohibiting use of devices unless drivers are at a complete stop, or if there is an emergency. Those caught in the act by Austin police face a citation for a Class C misdemeanor, which will carry a fine of around $300.

While some studies suggest devices with hands-free capability doesn't necessarily reduce safety risk or increase reaction times, the move is an extension of the city's current ban on using devices while on the road. But what do Austin drivers think of the ban, and how Austin police plan to enforce it?

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Do you become uneasy when you see a clearly inexperienced driver behind the wheel? How about when you spot someone texting while driving?

It’s part of Patty Kelly’s job to know the latest dangerous driving trends. Kelly works for State Farm Insurance, and she learned something surprising from the company's latest study. 

“What we found out is that older adults are getting smart phones at an increasing rate, first of all. And with that they are getting on the Internet and doing all those distracting behaviors almost as much as teenagers are," Kelly says. 

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A group of Austin high school students is calling on fellow teens not to text and drive.

The Austin Youth Council is teaming up with AT&T to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while texting, with a car simulator that demonstrates how distracting texting can be.

Almost half of teenagers cop to texting while driving. And those texting teens are more likely to make other risky moves while in the car, too.

That includes not wearing seat belts, drinking and driving, and riding with a driver who's been drinking, a study just published in the journal Pediatrics finds.

Car crashes have long been the leading cause of death for teenagers, even before texting entered the scene.

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A bill that would ban texting while driving in Texas is scheduled to be heard on the House floor today.

The bill, filed by state Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland), would make it a misdemeanor to text behind the wheel – with a fine of $100 for the first offense and $200 after that.

U.S. drivers are much more likely than Europeans to drive while distracted, federal health officials report Thursday.

Nearly 69 percent of Americans who drive say that they talked on their cell phones while driving at least once in the previous month, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's a lot higher than what was reported by Europeans in another survey. Only 21 percent of British drivers reported chatting on their cell phones while behind the wheel, for example. In Germany and France it was about 40 percent.

Felipa Rodrigues / KUT

Texas lawmakers are taking a fresh look at a statewide ban on texting while driving, but the Governor may not be budging.

Members of the House Transportation Committee heard testimony today from people whose relatives were killed in crashes blamed on use of mobile phones.

There are concerns about enforcement.

A veteran Houston Police officer says he has no trouble seeing when someone is texting behind the wheel, but as it is now, he has to wait for the driver to do something more dangerous before he can make a stop.

flickr.com/indyplanets

Texas lawmakers are trying again to pass a statewide law banning texting while driving. A similar measure passed in the Texas House and Senate last legislative session, but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry.

Today, Texas Rep. Tom Craddick’s House Bill 63 is getting its first public hearing. The bill is going before the House Committee on Transportation.

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Texas lawmakers will try again this Legislative session to outlaw texting and driving. 

Lawmakers voted to criminalize texting while driving statewide in 2011, but Governor Rick Perry vetoed that bill before it became law.

KUT News

State lawmakers gathered Tuesday at the Capitol in support of a bill that would outlaw texting while driving. 

Both Senate Bill 28 and House Bill 63 would ban all forms of cell phone use while driving a vehicle—including texting, emailing and talking. This is the second attempt at a texting ban for both State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and State Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland). Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the last attempt in 2011