Stateline Story

Texas Governor Rejects Ban on Texting While Driving

  • June 20, 2011
  • By John Gramlich
While 33 states and the District of Columbia ban text messaging by all drivers , Texas will not be joining the list this year.

On Friday (June 17), Governor Rick Perry vetoed a measure cracking down on those who text behind the wheel. In his veto message , Perry criticized the proposal as a "government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."

The legislation, which was pushed by former Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick , would have penalized offenders with citations of up to $200. It would have come on top of an existing law that bans texting while driving by teenagers.

"I believe there is a distinction between the overreach of (this bill)," Perry said in his veto message, "and the government's legitimate role in establishing laws for teenage drivers who are more easily distracted and laws providing further protection to children in school zones."

While the governor did call texting while driving "reckless and irresponsible," he favors informational campaigns - rather than civil penalties - to discourage the practice. Perry's veto comes as the federal government has been raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, and as dozens of other states have stepped up penalties against those who do it.