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Feds Offer Financial Incentive For Texas To Ban Texting While Driving
You may have seen the public service TV spots with the strong images and equally strong message: Stop the texts, Stop the wrecks. And now the feds are backing up these ads with funds to help states curb driver distractions including texting while driving. The money is included in the Federal Transportation Authorization Law, and according to AAA's math it could come out to as much as $500 million a year.
While it is true that money talks, lawmakers at the Texas State Capitol are hoping they don't need that kind of incentive to get the votes they need. State Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville is proposing a statewide ban on all texting while driving. He says, I think we need to take up that issue this session and pass it and make sure we don't have our phones in our hands at any time texting during the time that we're driving."
The new emphasis on highway safety comes after a bad year on the roads. The feds estimate that traffic deaths increased by 7.1 percent in the first nine months of 2012 over the same period the previous year. Austin contributed 78 traffic fatalities to that total. Governor Perry vetoed last session's attempt to ban texting while driving calling it "a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."
Traffic safety advocates hope the rising death toll weighs heavily on lawmakers to act again on road safety this year.
By Fred Cantu