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House delays hearing on texting while driving ban

POSTED: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 5:58pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- A family of a girl who died while texting and driving warned of the dangers at the Capitol today.

Lawmakers in Austin delayed the hearing for the bill, but the family still spoke out about their concerns.

Fox 44 spoke to locals about what they think of the bill.

"A friend of mine was texting while he was driving, and he dropped his phone. When he dropped it, he went to grab it, the vehicle also swerved, and he took out three mailboxes," says one Waco resident, Kristi Treece.

Treece says although her friend paid a hefty fine, they were thankful someone wasn't standing near the mailboxes when he went flying into them.

Not everyone is that lucky. In 2007, a Baylor student was killed when a texting driver slammed into her car.

"We all need to take a minute and think, just something as simple as sending a text, in that five seconds that I'm doing it could be a time that I'm either going to kill myself or injure someone else," says Waco Police Department's Sgt. Patrick Swanton.

That's what House Bill 243 hopes to get across: texting while driving is dangerous.

Some might think texting and driving is doable. However, keeping your attention on traffic while typing can be difficult,  and some say it can turn a little phone into a deadly weapon."

"You're pretty much in a death machine. The vehicle you're in can kill someone or seriously harm yourself or some one else. I mean, it really makes you wonder if they're really taking that responsibility seriously," says Baylor student, Anastasia Espinoza.

Rep. Doc Anderson says while some might see it like turning on your radio or talking to someone in the car, it's different because it involves all three aspects of distracted driving: visual, mental and manual.

"People can become involved in their cell phone and trying text, and they take their eyes off the road trying to respond to a text message. It's even worse because their trying to find the numbers and the letters and text back, and it absolutely can take your mind off the road and your eyes off the road," says Sgt. Swanton.

It's already against the law to use a cell phone in a school zone, but the new bill would make it illegal to read, write or send texts in the car unless it's stopped.

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