March 25, 2015, the Texas House of Representatives will vote on HB 80, a bill banning text based communications while operating a motor vehicle.
Bike Texas, an organization promoting the safety and access of cyclist, is promoting the bill by sending out emails and fliers to get voters to send requests to the appropriate representatives to pass this bill.
45 states have already passed bills banning texting and driving, beginning with Washington in 2007.
The bill will not ban all cell phone use, only text based communications, such as texting, email, and Facebook.
Of the states that already have a ban on texting and driving, 38 prohibit all cell phone use by novice drivers (many states define a novice driver as one under the age of 18, though some have slightly varying definitions) and 20 states prohibit any use by bus drivers.
Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have joined with the 45 states in their own bans on texting and driving, but have also joined 14 of the states in banning handheld cell phone use. There, hands free devices are required to use the phone while driving.
While the enforceability of this ban is in question, it is believed by many advocates of the bill that this will greatly decrease the number of deaths related to texting and driving throughout the state.
For more information on distracted driving laws go to http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html
If you would like to find out who your local representative is and how to contact them, visit http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/find-your-representative/
Bike Texas recommends the following format when contacting elected officials:
1. My name is _____ and my occupation is _____. I live in District ____. I ride a bike.
2. Please support HB 80 to ban texting while driving in Texas.
3. (Tell your representative why this legislation is important to you.)
Thank you for your time and consideration.