Transportation

Study: Texas Needs To Address Distracted Driving

Texas is getting mixed grades when it comes to traffic safety laws. A new report says the state has strong enforcement in some areas but still needs to do more.

Houston police and firefighters handle a crash on I-45.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety looked at state traffic laws in 15 different categories. Researchers say they found significant gaps in enforcement all over the country.  

“In the last two years we have experienced a sharp increase in traffic fatalities and a disturbing decrease in the number of state life-saving traffic safety laws,” says the organization’s president Jackie Gillan.  

Overall, the study ranks Texas in the middle of the pack for traffic safety legislation. The state gets high marks for child passenger safety, as well as laws against drunk driving.

But Gillan says one area where Texas lags is distracted driving. It’s one of a few states that doesn’t have a full ban on texting behind the wheel.

“We want governors involved and we want state lawmakers,” adds Gillan. “You can’t let these bills wind up in what I call legislative graveyards.”

A proposed statewide ban has failed in previous legislative sessions but it’s expected to go back before lawmakers again this year.  

 

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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