Texting: To ban or not to ban

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The eye-opening scenes can be found everywhere on the internet. On YouTube, a video shows a San Antonio bus driver slamming into an SUV, after being distracting by texting. All of it has fueled the push to ban texting behind the wheel. The federal government responded, last week outlawing texting for truckers and commercial bus drivers.

"Texting is a no-brainer", says Grapevine safety advocate, Jennifer Smith who has pushed for texting bans. Smith formed FocusDriven after a man on a cell phone hit and killed her mother, Linda Doyle. "I just hope the states can follow the lead of the federal government and realize the safety of everyone in this country deserves to be protected".

Texas is among the handful of states reluctant to ban texting while driving. Instead the state is taking baby steps, beginning with school zones, last year. "I thought it was almost a no-brainer to restrict usage in school zones", says Dallas State Representative, Dan Branch. Branch says he encountered push back on the ban in school zones and doesn't expect an all out texting ban to pass anytime soon. "We have to keep an open mind about safety, but also remember that Texas is very independent and many citizens have a don't regulate me, mentality".

Texting Texans who don't want to give up the practice may find new ammunition in the study that shows laws banning texting don't decrease car crashes. The finding is something Smith disputes. "A 100% preventable tragedy took my mother's life", says Smith. She says she won't give up the fight until lawmakers listen and crack down, like 19 other states that now ban texting and driving.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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