Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill creating a statewide ban on texting while driving into law. The ban is scheduled to go into effect on September 1.
According to the Temple Daily Telegram, this was the fourth session in a role that the bill’s author, Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, attempted to pass such a measure. Abbott displayed hesitation prior to signing the bill, prompting speculation that the ban may not pass; however, the governor announced during a news conference Tuesday that the bill had been signed.
During the news conference, Gov. Abbott also stated that the ban did not fully achieve his goals and announced that continued work on the ban will be among a series of priorities to be addressed during a special legislative session set to start on July 18.
“I was not satisfied with the law as it was written,” said Abbott. “Now that Texas does have a statewide ban on texting and driving, I am calling for legislation that fully pre-empts cities and counties from any regulation of mobile devices in vehicles. We don’t need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”
Insurers have praised Abbott for his decision to sign the texting while driving ban into law.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that about one in every five traffic accidents reported in Texas is caused by distracted driving. In 2016, 455 people were killed in crashes involving districted drivers.
Researchers have also noted that nearly 40 percent of Texas drivers regularly or sometimes use a cell phone while driving.
Other common forms of driver distraction include social media, checking email, reading, watching videos, interacting with a navigation system, and eating while driving.