Texting ban passes

Texting ban passes
Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 8:47pm

AUSTIN  — Driving while sending text or email messages from a cellphone would become a crime under a bill that passed the Texas House on Thursday.

Reading messages would still be legal. The last-minute change making an exception for drivers who look at or read text messages gave voice to opponents who thought the measure was a slap at basic freedom and an invitation to police to harass drivers.

Rep. Larry Taylor, R-League City, who won passage of the modification, said the bill as originally drafted went too far.

"Just looking down briefly at your phone — I don't want to be pulled over as a criminal or breaking the law," Taylor said. "The actual act of typing up a message and sending it to somebody else is very dangerous. I have no disagreement with that."

About 30 states and many municipalities, including San Antonio and El Paso, already have laws that limit texting while driving.

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