Texas texting while driving ban considered

HOUSTON Justine Schmider admits she has at least two distractions while driving. But it's the one without the wagging tail she uses with caution.

She said, "I check it but I don't answer while I'm driving. I pull over."

Texting while driving is an issue among state lawmakers for the upcoming legislative session. A bill filed last week would create a statewide ban on texting while driving. House Bill 243 reads, "An operator may not use a wireless communication device to read, write or send text based communication while operating a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped."

Some motorists question the need for more laws.

Driver Phil Arnold said, "I do not believe in strong federal laws or state laws interfering with individual liberties, but in this particular case I think human life is at risk."

The City of Houston has not passed a texting while driving ban for motorists. But nearby cities of Bellaire and West University Place have passed similar laws. And authorities there have seen a difference in driver attitude.

"Since we had this ordinance in effect, it's been safer," said Officer Michael Sierra with West University Place Police. "People concentrate more on driving than being on their cell phones."

It is a message the bill author says should be consistent and taken statewide.

"I think we need a uniform law across the state so everybody knows where you can text and when you can't text," said State Representative Tom Craddick. "I think that people are really becoming aware of this."

However, we found one motorist who wondered if the ban would create more questions than answers.

Driver Jay Jayasuriya said, "I've heard of a lot of accidents of folks texting while driving but I don't know who you'd enforce it."

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