There could be a new saying in the works: Texas, don't mess with your phone while driving.
A lawmaker southwest of Beaumont has proposed a new law to help slow the increase in distracted driving crashes in Texas. Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo's proposal would allow you to use your phone while driving, but only if you don't use your hands to do it.
The law would be in addition to the ban on texting while driving that became law two years ago.
Zaffirini said her proposal "will save lives." She said she believes it is "the next logical step toward reducing distracted driving in Texas."
If her bill is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, it would mean drivers can no longer hold their phones - even if they're doing nothing more than talking - while they are behind the wheel. Violations would mean a traffic ticket and a fine, though the amount of that fine has not yet been decided upon.
Between Sept. 1, 2017 and January of this year, Texas troopers issued more than 6,100 warnings and wrote slightly more than 2,000 citations to texting drivers, according to state data.
Will Zaffirini's proposal become law? Legislators have until May 27 to approve new measures. If it does, it is reasonable to expect it to help further reduce traffic fatalities here.
Deaths in motor vehicle crashes dropped 4 percent last year, according to a review of state Department of Transportation data by the Insurance Council of Texas. Maybe we can do even better with stronger measures to curb distracted driving.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a vehicle wreck caused by a distracted driver, contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.