Texas Distracted Driving News: The city of Pecos is moving closer to a texting & driving ordinance. The City Council approved the local text messaging law on first reading Feb. 13. The fine tops out at $200. “It’s become almost crazy out there with … all kinds of people texting and driving,” one council member said at a Jan. 23 meeting. Amarillo police wrote about 180 tickets for handheld communications devices while driving in the first 16 months of its ordinance, they said in early February. Fines for Amarillo distracted driving violations are up to $200. Amarillo’s mayor has said he wasn’t unhappy that the statewide texting bill failed, because it would have overwritten the more comprehensive local distracted driving law. Denton is moving toward a ban on texting and driving, with city staffers preparing a final draft of an ordinance as of mid-February. Corpus Christi’s new ban on texting and handheld cell phone use yielded 161 tickets in the first month of enforcement, police said in mid-December. Offenders paid fines up to $500 with traffic school required. The ordinance, which includes talking, texting and GPS use of handheld devices, was approved by the City Council on Oct. 8. A month long warning period followed. Last updated: Feb. 28, 2014.
Distracted Driving is Dangerous: The popularity of mobile devices has had some unintended and even dangerous consequences. Mobile communications are linked to a significant increase in distracted driving, resulting in injury and loss of life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2008 that driver distraction was the cause of 16% of all fatal crashes — 5,800 people killed — and 21% of crashes resulting in an injury — 515,000 people wounded. The American Automobile Association reports that nearly 50% of teens admit to texting while driving.