Cell Phone Driving Ban Bills Filed

by Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Nine different bills, nine different measures against talking and texting behind the wheel. They range in severity from just eliminating texting to taking away all use of a cell phone outside of a hands-free device.

When NewsWest 9 hit the streets to talk to Midland residents, many we spoke to were in favor.

"I think that they ought to have it and I know they're gonna have trouble enforcing it but I think they ought to just do as much as they can," Marilynn Philpy, who is for the measure, said.

"There's a lot of new technology out there that you can use. Bluetooth, and then you mentioned hands-free devices, that could potentially prevent some of these accidents," Midland Resident, Albert Perez, said.

"I've driven behind people when they're using their phones and they're holding them, it's just unsafe," Midland Resident, Jan Brooks, said.

If any of those bills pass, it's hands-free only from now on for West Texas drivers, which raises the question for Midland Police: How are they going to enforce it?

Police say if a bill passes, it'll be hard for them to judge who to cite.

"It's gonna be hard to tell what a person is doing," Lieutenant Brian Bogart with the Midland Police Department Special Operations, said. "If they've been sitting there holding it in their lap, how can you tell whether they're texting or not?"

NewSwest 9 posted the question on our Facebook page and got a range of answers.

Many asked about exemptions.

We know some of the bills come with exemptions for hands-free devices like Bluetooth and others for emergency calls.

State officials say because of the danger of cell phones and driving, one of the bills will be passed.

"1, 2, 3 or all of these are gonna pass because everybody realizes that this is dangerous to people on Texas streets and highways," Senator Kel Seliger said.

We won't be able to tell which if any of the bills will be passed. The answer will come in the coming months.