Texans pride themselves on living in a state that values freedom. As a general rule, Texans do not take freedoms for granted and they naturally often resist efforts to limit personal freedoms in any way. However, Texans are also a highly educated, intelligent and caring group of individuals. In recent years, many have become deeply concerned that the state government’s failure to limit certain driving behaviors is endangering the population as a whole.
Perhaps it is time to reframe the texting while driving debate from a discussion about limiting freedom to one in which motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists will be able to enjoy a new freedom from fear of deadly distracted driving accidents. In 2012 alone, drivers distracted by their cellphones caused more than 3,200 accidents in Texas. However, this statistic almost certainly does not reflect how widespread the problem of distracted driving has become.
Currently, law enforcement officers in Texas are supposed to ask drivers if they were interacting with their cellphones just before or during crash impact. Not only do officers fail to ask this question frequently for a myriad of reasons, but many motorists also do not provide an honest answer to it when it is asked. Chances are that distracted driving causes far more than 3,200 accidents annually in Texas.
It may not be reasonable to limit all cellphone use behind the wheel. But it is critically important that state legislators ban texting behind the wheel as a matter of public safety for the ultimate benefit of all Texans.