Local Councilman Happy to See State's Efforts on Banning Texting and Driving

By Devin Sanchez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Two state lawmakers, one from right here in the Tall City, are pushing a new ban on texting while driving.

House Bill 63, written by Rep. Tom Craddick, calls for a statewide ban on texting and driving.

Right now, there are statewide prohibitions when it comes to texting behind the wheel, but not a ban.

For more than a year, Midland City Councilman Scott Dufford, made it his mission to ban texting and driving in the city limits, but he was unsuccessful.

"That to me is the most irritating thing, not just that it's dangerous, but that people aren't paying attention," Dufford said.

39 states have banned texting while driving and now Rep. Craddick is trying to get Texas on that list.

"Overall we'd rather have it statewide than have every city have their own ordinance and it would be impossible to have everyone know if they can use a cell phone here or not," Dufford explained.

After trying to rally other councilmen behind him, Dufford convinced the city to get behind a statewide effort.

"It literally took me about a year before we finally got to where we could pass a resolution that supported Tom Craddick's house bill," he said.

He said with the influx of traffic, it's not safe on Midland's roads, and texting while driving, makes it even more dangerous.

In the last session, Governor Perry vetoed a similar bill. He said it was an effort by the government to micro-manage the behavior of adults.

If the governor does that again, Dufford said he will continue his efforts here at home.

"I will work on that. If they don't pass it statewide, I will work on it to get it passed here in the City of Midland," he said.

Back in 2011, the City of Odessa rejected a proposed ban on texting while driving. 25 cities in the state including Dallas and Austin have bans against it.

As the House adjourned today (Tuesday), House Bill 63 had 13 new co-authors.

It the ban were to pass, it would go into effect September 1, 2013.