WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Wednesday approved legislation to offer incentive grants to states that enact laws to combat distracted driving. Kay Bailey Hutchison noted that the bill would impose no new mandates and would be funded through existing programs, spending no additional taxpayer dollars.
In Texas, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited by law from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. Texas also prohibits the use of a wireless communication device within a school crossing zone, with an exception for the use of a hands free device. Additionally, Texas prohibits school bus drivers from using cell phones or text messaging while driving a bus with passengers younger than 18.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, in 2008, almost 6,000 people died from crashes that resulted from distracted driving. This accounted for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. In addition, 515,000 individuals were injured in crashes involving distracted driving According to a recent study by the cell phone industry association, text messages sent nationwide last year increased to over 3 million per minute.
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