Will texting ban for drivers catch on here?
Galveston's ban on text messaging while driving goes into effect today, but will other Bay Area cities follow suit?
Texting is a huge distraction and they shouldn't be doing it while driving," said Galveston City Councilman Tarris Woods, who proposed the Galveston ordinance that carries a fine up to $500. At the end of the day, safety rules."
It's a growing sentiment. More than 19 states have already banned drivers from text-messaging, and the feds have banned truck and bus drivers from texting. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood supports a national ban on texting while driving.
Galveston's just one of the Texas municipalities unwilling to wait for action.
Manvel Mayor Delores Martin said her city plans to implement a similar ordinance, perhaps before the end of this month.
Friendswood City Council briefly discussed the possibility last year when it installed signs notifying drivers of the state's ban on cell phones in school zones. Mayor David Smith said he plans to ask City Council to consider a ban sometime in the next year.
Smith said he has heard texting while driving compared to driving drunk.
You have slower reaction times," he said. That's nothing to sneeze at."
But the studies on texting can be confusing. A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when the drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting. A new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute,however, found that laws that prohibit drivers from using hand-held phones and texting didn't significantly reduce vehicle crashes.
Seabrook Mayor Gary Renola said there has not been any discussion about a ban on texting while driving in his city. He said he is against the practice, but he's not interested in a ban, since current traffic laws can be used to curb texting while driving.
I've often wondered why anyone would have to have a ban because usually if you're texting or something like that, you're weaving all over the road which is probably enough to give you a ticket anyway," Renola said.
Renola said he believes that a ban on texting would also be difficult for police to enforce.
It's not like people are texting up around their head," he said.
Texas City has not discussed a ban either, Mayor Matt Doyle said.
If somebody may want to talk about, we'll certainly do it," Doyle said. I know these things get very monkey see, monkey do."
Doyle said he doesn't condone texting while driving and said if it isn't eventually prohibited by a state law the city would probably need to do it."
He said he's perplexed how anyone can pull off driving and texting at the same time.
It's hard enough to talk on the phone when you're driving," Doyle said. Hands-free makes it a little easier like I'm doing right now. Texting, I don't even know how you could text and be able to drive quite frankly. We ought to just be driving."
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