A bill that would ban texting while driving is in its second reading in the Senate, but being stalled by tort reform and other issues in the state. Berkeley Senator Larry Grooms has amended the bill, wanting to change the limitations of the bill.
Senator Grooms’ amendment would change the language of Senate Bill 225 from prohibiting solely texting while driving to anything that distracts drivers while behind the wheel.
People get distracted when they send and receive texts. If someone is looking at their cellphone, then they swerve across the lane, and hurt somebody else, then they are denying that person’s ability to enjoy life, to have life, to have liberty, to be able to enjoy the fruits of their benefits when someone drives in a careless manner. It wasn’t that they were sending and receiving texts, it’s that they were driving carelessly.
Grooms says last week, the Senate wanted to take up tort reform before debating his amendment. He says some other lawmakers made other amendments to Senator Jake Knotts’ bill, but those amendments deal with penalties for violators. Grooms wants the bill to focus on distracted driving, but not limited to texting.
If the issue is getting careless operators off the vehicle, then the bill that we have moving now needs to deal with careless operators. If people are swerving all over the road because they are engaging in other activities other than driving, then let’s let that be the debate. Let’s have a penalty for that, not simply texting and leaving everything else open.
The Berkeley Senator says his amendment lists other activities while driving like putting on make-up, playing a video game, and combing one’s hair, but he says the amendment claims it is “not limited to” just these activities.
Grooms’ amendment to the bill is still pending. As for when the bill will go back to the Senate floor–that, Grooms is unsure of, but he says he knows it will.