The Campaign For DA

3.10.2015

The No Texting While Driving In Texas Bill Just Got Voted Out Of Committee

The relevant part of House Bill 80 (emphasis added):

(b)  An operator commits an offense if the operator uses a  portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle unless the  vehicle is stopped and is outside a lane of travel.
 (c)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b) that  the operator used a portable wireless communication device:
              (1)  to read, select, or enter a telephone number or
  name for the purpose of making a telephone call;
              (2)  in conjunction with voice-operated technology, a
  push-to-talk function, or a hands-free device, as defined by
  Section 545.425;
              (3)  to navigate using a global positioning system or
  navigation service;
              (4)  to report illegal activity or summon emergency
  help;
              (5)  to read a text-based communication that the person
  reasonably believed concerned an emergency; or
              (6)  that was affixed to the vehicle to relay
  information between the operator and a dispatcher in the course of
  the operator's occupational duties.

How unenforceable is that? Hey, be a cop right now. Is this guy breaking the proposed new law?


The scary part is that police can stop and detain you if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that you are breaking the law. Do you suspect he is breaking the above law? Is it reasonable to do so?

Edit: It never ceases to amaze me. I write a post about the text of the law and the difficulties in enforcing it and there are immediately a couple of goofballs who interpret the post to mean I must be in favor of whatever it is the law is trying to prevent. How is it possible to come to that conclusion?

Edit for extreme legal nerds: Got called out by a legal genius who pointed out that the noted exceptions in subsection "(c)" are "defense[s]". Great point and incredibly complicated. At a trial, the defense just has to put on some evidence of one of those defenses and then the prosecutor has to refute it with evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. How that factors into whether the cops can completely discount them in determining a reasonable suspicious is a great legal issue that I've never seen resolved in any other context. Love stuff like this. Could get lost in it every day.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fine. You're right. Let's all just text and drive and kill others.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if the vehicle is in operation.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should attend the funeral and ask the remaining family members if, before he hit them, he was breaking the law and if the cops should have been able to pull him over.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to solve the puzzle Pat, Yes yes yes and yes.

Anonymous said...

I text when I drive sometimes. Smart, careful people can do it with no problems whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Previous comments are missing the point: the concept of "no texting while driving" isn't a bad one, this is just a terribly written law that is, for all practical purposes, unenforceable because of all the exceptions.

On the flip side, it's a great reason to stop & detain someone for no reason. But we all know there aren't any shady cops that would do that, so it's all okay, right?

Anonymous said...

the narrow minded are easily fooled

Anonymous said...

2:38 just stumbled on the Republican game plan.

DF Dannie Goeb

Anonymous said...

I don't need a law to tell me not to go that.
And the teenager that texts and kills is going to do it regardless of the law.

Anonymous said...

That's why bills are written like that, to confuse stupid people like 2:20 and 2:25.

Anonymous said...

Just simplify the rule....

no talking to anyone even yourself

no holding anything in your hand

no looking at anything besides the road

If at anytime you aren't doing that, you are are breaking the law


Result: no one would ever get killed and everyone lives happily ever after.

book-em dano!!

Anonymous said...

With all the technology that has gone into cell phones and the amazing advancements it seems to me that they could use some technology to block texting from the driver's seat.

Anonymous said...

Heck we cannot even masturbate in our trucks anymore (unless safely parked). Safety folks are ruining it for everyone.

West Texas Flash

Anonymous said...

Every lawyer I know would answer this question, "It depends."

Triple Fake... said...

don't two-thirds of the other states have a law banning TWD? How are theirs written and enforced? Are we the only ones who can't make this workable?
Besides, it can be proven that you weren't texting. No texts during the time in question - no offense!

And aside from all that - technology is actually making us dumberer (sic), and will probably be our downfall
Idiocracy!

Triple Fake... said...

3:33 -
which law is that? and does it apply to trucks only

it's a long trip to San Antonio!

Anonymous said...

Skippy, You said for me to be a cop just now, so I would just shoot the guy.

Anonymous said...

The hot bear claws are just now hitting the racks down at the Krispy Kreme. Give me a minute and I will get back with you on your question.

DF Buford T. Justice, aka Johnny Law

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap

DF Frank Barone

Anonymous said...

Come on! You cannot be that stupid. You complain about laws, etc. all the time then wonder why people take it for what it is, YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT IT. You wouldn't complain if the "whatever" didn't bother you, dummy.

Anonymous said...

@ Triple Fake. Sure you can prove it but the burden of proof will be on you in a JP court. Don't you have better things to do.

A better law would be that you can be criminally prosecuted for causing accidents as the result of TWD. Your cell phone records will be subpoenaed after you are in a wreck. Records show you were texting you go to jail.

Anonymous said...

" It never ceases to amaze me. I write a post about the text of the law and the difficulties in enforcing it and there are immediately a couple of goofballs who interpret the post to mean I must be in favor of whatever it is the law is trying to prevent. How is it possible to come to that conclusion?"

Because your nickname is Douche LaRue.

Saying this stuff is your default position.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible to come to that conclusion?

I believe appropriate terms are "prejudice" and "perception". Everyone sits in judgement and believe their opinions are fact. Just like when the earth was flat.

People see what they want to see. Objectivity does not provide enough drama to sustain life in America today!

You provide the perfect platform for opinion: anonymous comments that receive equal space and attention, no matter the content.

As long as no animals are hurt due to your post, outrage should be minimal.

"Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave."

Anonymous said...

I don't need a law to tell me not to go that.
And the teenager that texts and kills is going to do it regardless of the law.


Srsly?

Nice. By that logic, if I know better than to murder, and if those who don't are gonna murder anyway, we don't need no stinkin' law against it? Is that your position?

6:11 thoughtfully points out that the logistics of this will probably play out better as a sentence stiffener in the event of accidents, than by having po-pos stopping people right and left on the suspicion they were using a wireless device.

Anonymous said...

3:33...who says it's against the law?

Baylor Too said...

Barry, the law says "IT IS A DEFENSE...." So that means the defendant will have to go to court and testify that he was doing one of the enumerated things. The cops can still pull you over and give you a ticket, and then the burden shifts to the driver to prove his affirmative defense. Don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Just look around for police and hold the phone down low when you text and drive.

whisky O said...

And in breaking news, Utah brings back firing squads. God love those Mormons.

Anonymous said...

Invention:

Electronic addition to the automobile's "blackbox" to disengage drivers cell phone in close proximity of the driver's moving automobile and route and record all of the driver's incoming and outgoing cellular communications to said black box, which will be retrievable upon stopping of the driver's automobile.

Anonymous said...

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--Zetatalk