Testimony by Texas Public Health Coalition
House Transportation Committee
Written Testimony on House Bill 62 by Rep. Tom Craddick
March 8, 2017
The Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC), representing more than 35 major health organizations in Texas, supports House Bill 62 by Rep. Tom Craddick to reduce distracted driving in Texas. TPHC member organizations recognize Texas must do more to reduce preventable injuries in our state. Educating the public about the dangers of distracted driving and eliminating texting while driving is among TPHC’s top priorities this legislative session.
Engaging in distracted driving, such as texting while driving, interferes with the primary task of operating the vehicle. Our brains have a limited ability to perform more than one cognitive task at one time. When drivers focus attention 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 2015, more than 105,000 crashes in Texas were attributed to distracted driving, causing 476 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 takes 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.
- Thirty-one percent of U.S. adults report regularly or fairly often talking on their cell phone while driving. Young drivers have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes while using their cell phone.
Texas is one of only four states without a prohibition on texting while driving. And while an increasing number of Texas cities have implemented a variety of restrictions, there is no comprehensive approach. By eliminating texting while driving across the state — and promoting distracted driving education for Texas drivers, HB 62 will help reduce costly and preventable injury and make our roads safer for all Texans.
TPHC thanks Representative Craddick for his leadership 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
March 08, 2017