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A Texas woman whose mother was killed nearly a year ago in an Oklahoma City traffic accident in which the other driver was talking on a cell phone says she will urge a House committee to ban all types of activity with a mobile device while driving.
Legislation should be passed to outlaw text messaging and conversations on cell phones, including those with hands-free devices, Jennifer Smith of Grapevine, Texas, said.
An interim study on the issue is scheduled for Oct. 8 at the Capitol.
House Democratic leader Danny Morgan, who has tried the past couple years to get legislation passed that would address the dangers of cell phone use and texting while driving, said other legislators have argued police officers already can ticket drivers for inattentive or dangerous driving.
Smith’s mother, Linda Doyle, 61, was killed Sept. 3 when her sport utility vehicle was struck by a pickup at Northwest Expressway and Harvest Hills Road. The driver of the pickup was talking on a cell phone and pleaded guilty earlier this year to negligent homicide, a misdemeanor.
The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety officials, came out Sunday in support of efforts to ban text messaging by drivers, reversing its previous stand.
“Texting is a no-brainer,” Smith said. “I’m glad everyone’s trying to get a ban on it and stop it, but I don’t want the attention to come off of the fact that the cell phone conversations are also a pretty big problem.”
Texting and talking on cell phones are a large part of America’s culture today, and it will take several approaches to send a message that conversations with mobile devices require one’s full attention, she said.
“Our kids grew up with us on cell phones, watching us talk on the cell phones while we drove,” she said. “But back then, if you spoke on the phone while you were driving it was a phone call you had to make. It was something real important and it was quick, to the point. But now people just use these phones to talk and babble about nothing.”
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau