Governor Perry vetoes texting while driving ban

On June 17, 2011 Governor Rick Perry vetoed a bill that if enacted would have banned texting-while-driving in Texas. Governor Perry said he vetoed the bill because he viewed it as “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.” Car & Driver Magazine, which can hardly be viewed as a politically partisan media outlet, performed a study in 2007 on the dangerous effects of texting while driving: you can read the Car & Driver article here.  The conclusion Car & Driver reached through their experiment is that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.

Results from Car & Driver Magazine's test comparing text-driving to drunk-driving

It is hard to imagine how the alleged “micromanagement” of adults’ lives would not be justified in banning a driving behavior that is known to create a potentially deadly distraction to drivers on Texas’ public roads. Obviously just because text-driving is banned doesn’t mean people won’t do it, but it certainly can’t hurt to try and remedy the problem and the possibility of prosecution may cause some people to think twice. Just ask Californian Ling Murray whose 2-year old daughter Calli was killed by a text-driving teen and the mother and child walked hand-in-hand in a crosswalk. Or the family of 32-year old Martha Ovalle, a nanny on her way to work in Newport Beach, California who was hit and killed in a crosswalk by a texting driver who was later convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter. And pedestrians are not the only potential victims of driver’s distracted by text messaging: 17-year old driver Alexandria “Alex” Marie Brown died November 2009 in Lubbock, Texas after she rolled her truck and was ejected while driving to school. Alex’ cell phone record indicated she replied to a text message moments before losing control of her vehicle and crashing.

During the same legislative session Governor Perry designated the latest round of tort reform a legislative emergency, moving it to the top of the list of bills up for debate and consideration. Banning a notoriously dangerous driving behavior that has undeniably cost Texan lives (and will continue to do so) did not merit such prompt attention however. What a shame.

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