Texting while driving ban advances in Texas House - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Texting while driving ban advances in Texas House

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A proposed statewide texting ban survived a heated debate in the state House Wednesday. But its future remains far from certain.

About 2 dozen cities in Texas already outlaw texting and driving. HB 63 would not affect those laws but would provide a basic texting ban for the rest of the state.

According to the most recent state crash report; in 2011 almost 32-hundred wrecks were linked to cellphone use. 40 lives were lost in those crashes.

In an unusual team up Wednesday afternoon, several Trial Attorney and Tea Party lawmakers tried to gut the Bill.

"Somebody great once said, some things you build to protect yourself in also imprisons you, and if you don't want to be imprisoned today by your government then you ought to vote against the motion to table," said Rep. Harold Dutton (D) Houston.

The proposed Amendment by Dutton would have prevented police from stopping and citing a person for texting and driving unless there was probable cause for another offense. After the Dutton Amendment failed in a rare tie vote, HB 63 was passed on a 98 to 47 vote. Rep Tom Craddick who sponsored the legislation believes his Bill has popular support.

"Well I think the main thing is we are having more accidents more deaths. We have 40 states that have it in effect and 10 had it in effect 2 years ago," said the Midland Republican.

One more procedural vote is needed before the Bill moves on to the Senate for consideration. Governor Rick Perry vetoed similar legislation two years ago. A spokesperson say the Governor still opposes the proposed ban calling it an example of government micro-management.

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