Arlington City Council decides to skip the texting-while-driving debate.
The Federal DOT has established statistically that distracted driving constitutes a significant risk to vehicles (including cyclists and pedestrians) on the roadways. For any of us sharing the streets with vehicles, we’re well aware of how just a moment of distraction can turn a routine commute into an extended hospital stay…or worse. The DOT has recognized the threat to be so significant, they’ve gone as far to announce a federal ban on texting for commercial vehicle drivers.
It seems such common sense that mobile device use behind the wheel is so obviously dangerous that the mountain of data from the NHTSA studies seem little more than rote policy warnings. There are age-old seatbelt and DWI laws on the books that were put in place to combat these same types of threat to driver and passenger safety. Even some of our own Texas cities like Austin, Galveston, and El Paso already have handheld device use laws on the books to curb use while driving.
However, a couple Tuesdays ago Arlington city councilman Robert Rivera attempted to get the topic of a texting-while-driving added the city council agenda and for some inexplicable reason met with enough resistance from other council members that it was excluded from the agenda in the upcoming August session.
It’s worthwhile to emphasize here that this measure was not to enact a ban or create any specific legislation, but to simply add it to the agenda for discussion. They city council has spoken, and the message seems to be “we don’t want to talk about it.”
Well, we’d like to see it become part of the discussion. And from speaking to many of you, it appears as though plenty of Arlington citizens are interested in hearing what the council has to say about it in session.
Councilman Rivera noted in his interview with the press that he felt like it needed to be a “citizen-driven initiative”, so it appears that proponents of the discussion can offer some help. If you’d like to see the council add this to the agenda, let your councilperson know about it.
If you don’t know which elected official represents your district, you can take a look at the map here. The email address of each council member is listed there. We’d encourage anyone who wants to see this measure added to the agenda to send them a simple message to let them know you support this discussion as an item of council agenda.