Risky Behavior: Cell Phones on the Road

3-10-05 – Drivers in Texas are facing several new restrictions when it comes to talking on a cell phone while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the number of people using cell phones while driving is higher than ever.

The Texas House is considering three bills that would limit phone use on the roads. The first bill only allows hands-free devices while driving. Another bill prohibits cell phone use in school zones and the last would prevent drivers under eighteen from talking during the first six months of having their license.

“If you have to react in a certain situation, that could affect your reaction time because your attention is not necessarily focused one hundred percent on driving,” says Lt. Mike Eppler of the Denison Police Department.

Royce Moss, a driver from Bonham, agrees saying, “I don’t have a problem if someone just answers it and pulls over, but if they’re carrying on business… that’s just dangerous.”

New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia were the first to ban hand-held cell phones while driving. Fines in those areas range from $100-$500, depending on the number of offenses.

Cell phone restrictions in Texas and Oklahoma have not made it through the legislature in past years. Some lawmakers worry that restricting cell phone use while driving might discourage people from making calls during emergencies.