Texas, it’s time for texting while driving ban

Published 5:23 pm Monday, June 5, 2017

Literally everywhere you drive today there are individuals in their cars traveling at a high rate of speed while texting.

Multiple studies have covered this topic comparing reaction times between an individual who is intoxicated to that of someone texting and driving with the reaction time for texting and driving being much slower meaning drivers travel much farther when reacting and thereby causing more accidents.

Texting and driving, which falls under the category of distracted driving, has become the No. 1 cause of accidents across our nation when it comes to teens and young adults. In fact, if a driver is traveling at 55 MPH and picks up their phone to text look at a text, which may only take five seconds, this driver has already traveled the length of a football field without looking up to see where they are going.

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To bring this into perspective, highway speeds in our area are 65-75 miles and hour with many drivers traveling much faster than that. You can add another five yards per second of texting when driving 65 MPH and an extra 10 yards per every second of texting when going 75 MPH. For drivers who feel the need to go 85 MPH, they should know that during that same five seconds of texting, their vehicle would travel 208 yards.

On May 19 the Texas Senate passed House Bill 62 with a 23-8 vote. HB 62 is a statewide ban on texting while driving which comes much too late for some.

The National Safety Council estimates that at least 1.6 million crashes each year involve drivers using cell phones and texting. In 2015, there were more than 3,477 people killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving in Texas alone.

HB 62 now sits in front of Gov. Abbott for final approval.

I am of the opinion that texting and driving is not smart and is definitely dangerous to all. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where our cell phones are our life source. Many people have become addicted to them. Users are unable to put them down while driving, walking across the street, or even at the dinner table. It’s an addiction that causes us to put the life of others and ourselves at risk every day.

We shouldn’t need laws to keep us from being ignorant. As an individual, we should be smart enough to handle this on our own. But statistics prove that many are not. With that being the case, I hope this bill passes Gov. Abbott’s desk with his signature bold and prominent and that this will help us to help ourselves.