Dear Senator Judith Zaffirini and Representative Tom Craddick:
I am writing on behalf of We Save Lives, an international organization with more than 50 partners including, NOYS, EndDD, Hang Up and Drive, the Conor Lynch Foundation, Safe Roads Alliance, and the National Safety Council, We Save Lives would like to add our voice to those who support penalizing drivers who use a phone while driving. Texas has enabled drivers who use mobile devices while operating a two ton weapon far too long and it needs to stop. SB31 and HB62 will demonstrate to the public that the use of mobile devices while driving will not be tolerated. This driving behavior kills thousands on our roadways and injures thousands more. It is unsafe, irresponsible and deadly. We need to send a clear message to drivers that their focus should be on driving safely and not on communicating, posting or texting with a mobile device while behind the wheel. We support your efforts to implement fines and other methods of holding driver’s accountable when they endanger others.
According to the National Safety Council almost 1/3 of the traffic crashes that occur happen while someone is on a cell phone. Also, talking on a cell phone is as dangerous as drunk driving yet legislators still refuse to treat it seriously. Advocates such as We Save Lives cannot make driver cell phone use socially unacceptable without support from our lawmakers and courts.
Distracted driving deaths and injuries are increasing and we need to take action now to save lives in the state of Texas. We applaud your efforts and will work with you to pass this legislation.
Candace Lightner, President We Save Lives
From Dallas News:
Families who lost loved ones in accidents involving texting while driving joined lawmakers at the Capitol to galvanize support for a bill that would ban the practice.
“I am getting pissed because this is outrageous,” said Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, a co-author of the bill. “It is outrageous that our state cannot do something as simple as dealing with distracted drivers.”
Many of the families and advocates have met during previous legislative sessions. This is the fifth time Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and the fourth time Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, have filed legislation to ban texting while driving. AT&T joined the news conference, giving legislators and visitors a chance to use a Texting While Driving Simulator.
House Bill 62 and Senate Bill 31 would make using a phone while driving a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine ranging from $25 to $99 with penalties up to $200 for repeat offenders.
“I’m disheartened to say that we’re still at it,” said Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, a co-author of the House bill. “This is what drinking and driving used to be to previous generations.”