Text your friends about National Safety Month
by Senator Carlos Uresti
June is a time for welcoming a summer break from school, hosting BBQ's, days at the lake and rooting for your favorite basketball team in the NBA finals (Go Spurs!). June is also National Safety Month, and a time for us all to commit to ourselves, and each other, that we will not text while driving.
National Safety Month covers four areas of importance. Week one recognizes the significance of preventing prescription drug abuse. Week two touches on recognizing the risk of slips and falls. Week three is the all-encompassing reminder to be aware of your surroundings to prevent home and workplace injuries.
The first three weeks of June are no doubt important, but we can take action to save lives on the state level by tackling the theme of week four--putting an end to distracted driving, more specifically, texting while driving.
Texas has a patchwork of texting bans. In one city you may be legal to text, but drive a mile further down the road and you're breaking the law. Texans deserve some consistency and clarity in our laws. That's why in the 2011, during 82nd Legislative session, I filed legislation to end the practice of texting while driving statewide. Ultimately, a similar bill was passed by the legislature, but was vetoed by the Governor.
Waiting to text until your vehicle is at a stop is just common sense. I recognize that having a law in place does not ensure compliance. However, a statewide law will reinforce the danger to us and our fellow motorists, offer a teachable moment when mentoring our children, and provide a specific tool for law enforcement to deal with that motorist caught drifting across the double yellow line.
In the next legislative session there is hope for redemption, by honoring those 63 Texans who lost their lives in 2013 due to a driver distracted on a cell phone. At the beginning of next session there will be a new Governor in Texas. Senator Wendy Davis voted in favor of the ban on texting while driving in the 82nd session. I believe I stand with a majority of Texans in hoping Republican nominee Greg Abbott will commit to signing a legislation to ban texting while driving should he be the next Governor.
Texans covet our roads, and the freedom they provide to travel safely from home to school, to church, the ball field, and the market. While we await the next legislative session and the passage of a law that provides clarity on the issue, let's all use the month of June to recognize the importance of driving without distractions. This June, take the time to text a friend about the dangers of texting while driving—but please, wait until you're out of the car, the life you save may be your own.
Sen. Uresti represents Senate District 19, which covers more than 35,000 square miles and contains all or part of 17 counties, two international ports of entry, ten state parks, 61 school districts, 2700 miles of highways, and more than 23,000 producing oil and gas wells. The district is larger than 12 states and 82 Nations, and contains over half of the Texas-Mexico border.