Transportation

Where Things Could Go Next With Texting While Driving Ban

Statistics show that a lot of crashes on Houston-area roads are caused by distracted driving. Officials are now waiting to see if a statewide ban on texting and driving helps make the roads safer.

Only a few local communities have banned texting while driving, places like Sugar Land and West University Place. In most of the Houston area it’s remained legal.

And the crash rates are high. The Houston-Galveston Area Council says the eight-county region has about 144,000 crashes a year. 20,000 of those crashes are caused by distracted driving.

H-GAC Transportation Program Manager Patrick Mandapaka says piecemeal restrictions won’t bring down those numbers.

“When they have harmful behavior like this and one city has a ban and another city doesn’t it effectively does not help much,” says Mandapaka.  

The Texas Legislature passed the texting and driving ban after attempts failed in previous sessions. Now things could be going in the other direction. 

Texas Southern University Political Scientist Jay Aiyer was a guest on Houston Matters.  

“What makes it even more interesting in that in the call for this special session the governor says that texting ban doesn’t go far enough,” says Aiyer. “Because he wants to preempt local governments from being able to regulate even further.”

The statewide texting and driving ban goes into effect September 1.

 

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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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