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States Urged To Enact ‘Distracted Driving’ Laws

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Texting and/or talking while behind the wheel is not banned statewide in Texas. But the federal government wants that to change, unveiling a plan that is aimed at cracking down on distracted driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation calls distracted driving an epidemic, and is trying to persuade states — like Texas — to get tougher about using cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.

The federal government is moving foward with a long-term plan that hopes to curb texting while driving, particularly among younger drivers. A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than half of high school seniors admit to texting or emailing while they are driving.

The new federal program will encourage the 11 states that do not have distracted driving laws to enact and enforce legislation. The government also wants the auto industry to reduce dashboard and other in-vehicle distractions. Finally, the program involves better educating new drivers about the potential dangers of distracted driving.

Alison Holden is the victim of a distracted driver. “I sustained a traumatic brain injury; a spinal cord injury; neck, rib and hip injuries; and some emotional stuff too,” Holden said. “She should have been focusing on the road, but instead, she was on her phone and hit me.”

Texas drivers are already prohibited from using cell phones while in school zones, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a more expansive ban on texting while driving back in February.

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