Claiming that such a law would be overreaching and would equal a “…government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults,” Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed a proposed ban on texting while driving, last Friday. The ban on behind-the-wheel texting ad been approved by the Texas legislature last month.
The ban had strong backing from former Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, who referred to it as an important public safety measure. Even so, the bill caused a debate of over half an hour on the House floor, with opponents claiming such a bill would be the equivalent of criminalizing drivers for merely receiving a text while driving.
Laws banning texting while driving are already on the books in at least thirty other states, and in the Texas cities of El Paso and San Antonio.
In his veto statement, Perry said, “The keys to dissuading drivers of all ages from texting while driving are information and education. 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.”
Eleven years ago, Perry set the (known) record for the number of vetoes by a Texas governor when he vetoed 83 bills. In 2001, he killed so many proposed laws on the night of June 17th, that Texas politicos referred to the event as the Fathers’ Day Massacre.