Denton may soon ban messaging while driving

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Credit: WFAA

Denton may soon ban messaging while driving

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by JORDAN ARMSTRONG

WFAA

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Updated Monday, May 5 at 2:27 PM

Poll:
Do you support banning messaging while driving?

DENTON -- Denton could be the next city in North Texas to ban drivers from text messaging or using the Internet while on the road.

According to the agenda for the Denton City Council's May 6 meeting, members will consider an ordinance that would ban texting and using the Internet while driving. Dialing a number and talking on a cell phone would still be allowed.

If caught messaging, drivers could be fined $200.

According to the Denton Record Chronicle, the ban would begin May 20 if passed. Drivers who have an emergency will not be fined it they are pulled over to the side of the road while sending a message.

Arlington passed a similar ordinance in 2011. City officials told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that they've seen safer roads due to the ban and the increase in dialogue between police officers and citizens.

Governor Rick Perry vetoed a texting while driving ban that was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011. Since then, cities like Austin and San Antonio have begun to enact their own rules against it.

The Texas Department of Transportation said last month that crashes caused by distracted driving, including eating and grooming, are on the rise in Texas.

“The statistics in Texas are sobering,” said TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton. “One in five traffic crashes in Texas is caused by a distracted driver, and last year 459 people were killed as a result. Those deaths were preventable. It’s simple: We want drivers to focus 100 percent on driving when they’re behind the wheel — for their sake and the sake of others.”

TxDOT says 94,943 crashes last year in Texas involved distracted driving.

A study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that text messaging while driving takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. That's the equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded at 55 mph. 

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