TMA Testimony: House Bill 80
Senate State Affairs Committee
Written Testimony on House Bill 80
by Sen. Judith Zaffirini and Sen. Kevin Eltife
May 7, 2015
The Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC), representing more than 30 major health organizations in Texas, supports House Bill 80 by Rep. Tom Craddick and co-sponsored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini and Sen. Kevin Eltife, to reduce distracted driving in Texas. TPHC member organizations know that Texas can do more to reduce preventable injuries in our state. Educating the public about the dangers of distracted driving and eliminating texting while driving are among the top priorities of the TPHC this legislative session.
Distracted driving, such as texting, interferes with the primary task of driving. Our brains have a limited ability to perform more than one cognitive task at one time. When a drivers’ attention is focused on something other than driving, their reaction time slows, and their driving ability is diminished. Emerging transportation research continues to highlight the serious consequences associated with distracted driving, especially related to mobile devices:
- In 2013, more than 95,000 crashes in Texas were attributed to distracted driving, causing 460 deaths. Using a cellphone while driving increases by four times the likelihood of a crash serious enough to cause injury.
- Texting is considered especially dangerous, as it is a manual, visual, and mental distraction. Sending or receiving a text message take’s a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. That is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 miles an hour, blind.
- Twenty-five percent of U.S. adults report talking on their cell phone while driving regularly or fairly often. Young drivers report more crashes while using their cell phone.
Texas is one of only six states that does not completely prohibit texting while driving. And while an increasing number of Texas cities have implemented a variety of texting while driving restrictions, there is no comprehensive approach. By eliminating texting while driving across the state and promoting distracted driving education for Texas drivers, HB 80 will help reduce costly and preventable injury and make our roads safer for all Texans.
TPHC thanks Senators Zaffirini and Eltife for working with Representative Craddick on this important safety issue and thanks the committee for taking up the legislation. We ask for your support and look forward to working with you to implement this important legislation.
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Last Updated On
June 20, 2016