Statewide Ban on Texting While Driving Signed Into Law
TEXAS -- Texting while driving will be illegal in Texas starting September 1st. Governor Gregg Abbott signed a bill banning the dangerous practice earlier this afternoon
The new law, authored by state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, took four sessions to get passed, reported the Texas Tribune. Abbott opposed the initial idea of banning texting while driving during his 2014 gubernatorial campaign, but Abbott announced the new law during his press conference earlier this afternoon, where he also announced a series of priorities for his special legislative session on July 18.
“By enacting this public safety legislation, the governor is saving lives by deterring this dangerous and deadly behavior," Craddick said in a statement to the Texas Tribune, "For a long time, Texas has needed this law to prevent the loss of life in unnecessary and preventable crashes and we finally have it.”
Texas joins 47 other states that have similar bans on texting while driving.
Texting will be punishable by a $99 fine for the first offense and $200 for repeat offenses.
ABOVE: Gov. Abbott speaks at a press conference Tuesday, June 6. (Photo Courtesy of the Office of Gov. Abbott)
Furthermore, during this afternoon's press conference, Abbott identified 20 items that will be included on the special session call.
They are as follows:
- Sunset legislation
- Teacher pay increase of $1,000
- Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
- School finance reform commission
- School choice for special needs students
- Property tax reform
- Caps on state and local spending
- Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
- Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
- Speeding up local government permitting process
- Municipal annexation reform
- Texting while driving preemption
- Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
- Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
- Pro-life insurance reform
- Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
- Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
- Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
- Extending maternal mortality task force
Abbot was not too happy about announcing the special session, "Considering all the successes of the 85th legislative session, we should not be where we are today," Abbott concluded.