The Heart of Texas Young Republicans are excited to announce that the Texas Young Republican Federation, our parent organization, has released the following press release regarding the Governor’s veto of HB62, the “Texting Ban”:
AUSTIN, TX May 22, 2017 – For the first time this session, the Texas Young Republican Federation calls upon Governor Abbott to veto a piece of legislation, HB 62, the “Texting Ban.” TYRF agrees with former Governor Rick Perry who called this legislation “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults” when he previously vetoed this legislation the last time in passed, in 2011.
“Not only is this an attempt to micromanage adult drivers, but this law would be extremely difficult to enforce, as it would be nearly impossible to prove whether a person potentially in violation was actually using their phone in an illegal manner. Our focus instead should be on whether a person is driving safely, and we already have laws on the book which deal with unsafe driving,” Texas Young Republican Federation Policy Director, Jonathan Gaspard said.
There is no statistical evidence linking texting to a significant number of Texas crashes to justify the need or the potential unintended consequences of this law. According to the most recent data from the Texas Department of Transportation, collected by Texas Peace Officers, 3,531 people died as a result of fatal crashes on Texas roads in 2015. Of those, 20 fatal crashes involved at least one driver who was texting on a cellular device, and less than 70 fatal crashes involved any use of a cellular device, including talking, texting, or other/unknown use.1 This number is dwarfed by other contributing factors such as the 502 fatal crashes where a driver failed to maintain a single lane, the 499 crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol, and the 407 crashes where a driver was not maintaining a safe speed.
In 2015, there were a total of 476 fatalities resulting from distracted driving. Of these, texting on a cellular device was a factor in only 20 fatal crashes (4.2%), while driver inattention was a factor in 326 fatal crashes (68.5%). When it comes to non-fatal crashes, texting played an even smaller role, as 40 serious injury crashes out of 13,616 serious injuries (0.3%) involved a driver who was texting, and a total of 205 injury crashes out of 246,335 injuries (0.08%) involved a driver who was texting. While we agree that drivers should not drive while distracted, it is clear from the data that texting while driving is a very small percentage of crashes resulting from distracted driving.
We call on Gov. Abbott to veto this bill the moment it gets to his desk.
The Texas Young Republican Federation encourages personal responsibility and advises drivers in Texas to avoid distracted driving, including sending text messages while driving.
You can see a copy of our official press release here.
For more information please contact: Jonathan Gaspard, TYRF Policy Director
Phone: (972) 375-8117