Officials continue to warn against texting and driving
With kids in Houston getting ready to return to school, officials are warning people again about the dangers of distracted driving. However, right now there is no law statewide against texting and driving. So the only thing that the Texas Department of Transportation can do is tell people not to do it. Public Information Officer Deidrea Samuels of TEXDOT says billboards and public service messages are helping.
“We think that it has had a positive effect because we make sure that we saturate television, radio and billboards with that message,” Samuels said
But it that message getting through? Ray Hunt of the HPD says texting and driving continues to be a major issue.
“It is an extreme problem,” Hunt said. “It’s extremely dangerous.
The city of Galveston has a distracted driving law and police there say it's having a positive effect. Samuels says the TEXDOT billboards and commercials are having an impact as well. But there might be other things that have a bigger impact.
Samuels says, “Making them lose money would probably be effective. A ticket or maybe something horrible like losing a family member or being injured yourself because you choose to text and drive.”
Lawmakers tried to pass a bill against texting and driving last year. However it was vetoed by Governor Perry. Hunt says that should change in 2013.
“I think the stats are out there that show how dangerous this is and I think it’s going to have a lot more support than it did in the past.”