Friday, June 17, 2011

Perry vetoes new crime of texting while driving

Governor Perry's vetoes are out, and they include one of his first ever criminal-justice vetoes I actually agree with! The Governor vetoed HB 242 which created penalties for a new offense of texting while driving for adults. His reasoning:

 Texting while driving is reckless and irresponsible. I support measures that make our roads safer for everyone, but House Bill 242 is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults. Current law already prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from texting or using a cell phone while driving. I believe there is a distinction between the overreach of House Bill 242 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.

The keys to dissuading drivers of all ages from texting while driving are information and education. I recommend additional education on this issue in driving safety and driver's education courses, public service ads, and announcements, and I encourage individuals and organizations that testified in favor of the anti-texting language included in this bill to work with state and local leaders to educate the public of these dangers.

I agree with pretty much everything in that veto statement. Who'da thought?

See related Grits posts:

24 comments:

Hook Em Horns said...

Geez, myself and Grits agree with Perry!? Drought...wildfires?? The world may be coming to an end LOL!

Atticus said...

"...a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."

I'm afraid you might see a similar veto using the same language if the Lege ever has the balls to pass the smoking ban. Big Tobacco has some high-powered lobbyists on their payroll in Austin.

rodsmith said...

lol what you expect grits it had to happen sooner or later

even a BROKEN clock is right TWICE a day!

Plus now that you have come out agreeing with him....maybe he will change his mind! LOL

DEWEY said...

"maybe he will change his mind! LOL"
But first, he has to have one to change. I hope the new one works better

Michael said...

"Refusing to wear a seatbelt while driving is reckless and irresponsible, ... but House Bill 242 is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."

"Smoking marijuana is reckless and irresponsible, but etc."

"Paying another adult to have sex ..."

"Gambling ..."

"Using cocaine ... "

I'm very glad to see Governor Goodhair stand up to big government micromanagement. Now, let's get busy.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting given some recent cases in California, where a there has been a huge disparity in sentencing in cases where a death occurred while the driver/defendant was texting while driving. Some defendants have received relatively light sentences, others are doing years and years of time. See http://crimevoice.com/penalties-vary-for-fatal-text-and-drive-crashes-5869/

I wonder - has such sentencing disparity happened in Texas in similar cases, and what will be the effect, if any, of this failed/rejected legislation on sentencing disparity for driving while texting cases in Texas?

Arce said...

My problem with the bill was that it made receiving a text (not reading it!) while driving an offense. And, of course, one does not control when a text hits the phone.

I do not have trouble with making texting while driving an offense, or even reading what the phone says. But not receiving a text.

KatyDid said...

I don't know. I'm a little torn on this.

While I generally applaud efforts to allow adults to make their own decisions, I'm at a bit of a loss as to how the governor's reasoning here can be distinguished fomr what he wold say about drinking and dirving, or reading while driving, having sex wile driving, or any number of other activities that endanger other drivers on the road.

But who kows? Maybe we're in for an onslaught of libertarian bills.

Anonymous said...

Anything that takes your mind off the task of driving is dangerous. I agree with the fact that Government needs to stop micromanaging people though. So, good call Perry. Because next would have been don't change the radio station while driving or better yet, "don't ease the seat back" while driving.

Anonymous said...

Why can't people text and drive at the same time? I did my taxes while I drove from Dallas to Houston. I cut my son's hair at the same time (he was in the back seat, so it wasn't easy). I say freedom means to text, do taxes and cut hair while driving!!! We know none of these things are dangerous. Freedom! Don't make me pull off the road to cut hair - I can't stand being controlled!

David Smith said...

Governor doesn't seem to have any qualms micromanaging the behavior of adults seeking an abortion. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

I've agreed with Scott on a lot of things in the past, but this one stupid!

I hope I don't kill Scott and his granddaughter because I was texting and driving.

AdamJ said...

At least there is an argument that texting while driving affects others safety on the road. The same cannot be said for this ludicrous new law requiring adults to wear seat belts in the back seat or face fines. This is not micromanaging adults, this is Art Acevedo trying to further extract cash from his citizens that are not willing to pay for his department.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's compare texting and driving to abortion.

SanAntonioSuzi said...

The point in bringing up abortion was in regards to "micromanaging the behavior of adults". It's a valid argument.

James said...

Texting, in the grand scheme of things, is relatively minor. Yes, it can be a distraction to drivers, but we have other laws that can cover that situation.

Abortion is murder. You're stretching if you're trying to make a comparison between the two.

Anonymous said...

We can pretend that a person texting while driving is paying attention to the road. Sounds like many people reading this blog have a habit of pretending.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

5:53, you're the one pretending this blog and its readers have taken stances never articulated. I never said "a person texting while driving is paying attention to the road," and neither did Gov. Perry. You're tossing out red herrigs, not disputing anything written here.

That said, I don't frequently text, much less in the car, but just last week I received a text while in my vehicle during rush hour. I waited until I was stopped behind a long line of cars at a red light, which changed twice before I made it through. While waiting, I looked at the question from my daughter and texted back a one-word answer before the light changed. Did that endanger anyone? I don't think so.

Alan said...

I thought this bill was more symbolic than useful anyway, but I have a question: if this had become law and a driver causing an accident was proven to have been texting, could the fact of a misdemeanor criminal violation have any bearing on a civil action against the driver? Obviously, I'm no lawyer.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Alan, I'm sure it could, anyway, if cell phone records prove the driver was texting when an accident occurred. That's part of the reason I think it was unnecessary. Civil law already provides a remedy in cases where texting while driving causes harm.

Anonymous said...

"But who kows? Maybe we're in for an onslaught of libertarian bills."

One can only hope that we are!

Anonymous said...

Abortion is only murder in the eyes of the Catholic Church. When will you people stop trying to make your church doctrine the law of the land.

Hardship License Florida said...

Using mobile phone while driving is the main cause for most of the fatal crashes............

Anonymous said...

How could this law have been enforced without cops seizing the phone and perusing every message while looking for a date/time stamp? I never understood if it would have required the cop to obtain a search warrant or not since this wasn't a felony offense. I don't text but sure am tired of having my rights trampled to death in the name of conservatism.