Texting while driving ban heads to House floor

AUSTIN - After passionate testimony from victims in crashes that involved texting and driving, the Texas House Transportation Committee unanimously passed through a bill that would ban texting while driving in the state.

The bill, H.B. 62, would make it a crime for anyone under the age of 18 to “operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device, except in case of emergency.” The bill also adds that a person under 17 may not operate a motorcycle or moped while using a wireless communication device except in case of emergency.

During Thursday’s hearing, the bill had support from many including the Houston Police Department who told the committee 10,000 crashes were linked to distracted driving in 2016. Lakeway Police called the problem of texting and driving an “epidemic” and said there would be no problems enforcing a statewide ban.

Texting while driving bans have come before the Texas Legislature four times in the past, but has not been able to garner enough support in the Texas Senate to pass.

After the Transportation Committee passed the bill Thursday, it will now head to the full Texas House for a vote.

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