Legislation calling for a statewide ban on texting while driving in Texas is now gaining support after last month's deadly church van crash near Uvalde.
State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, has proposed a statewide ban for years, but says the deaths of 13 senior citizens could finally get it passed.
"The wreck I think has helped magnify the amount of people that are paying attention to it and know the need," says Craddick. "We have a lot more people concerned today, more knowledgeable about the problems with texting than we've had before."
DPS has not confirmed whether the driver who crashed head-on into the church van was actually texting while driving.
"People said no one will ever wear seatbelts, but they're showing in the high 90s that people are wearing them," he says. "When you get into the car and your children and grandchildren are saying 'buckle up and we think the same thing will happen here."
Critics argue a texting ban still would not have stopped the Uvalde crash.
"It’s an excuse for the expansion of police powers," says Chad Dornsife at the National Motorists Association and Best Highway Safety Practices Institute. "This particular event was not the impetus for this new law because he had already written it before it occurred."
"There's nothing in a new law that would have stopped that person from doing what he was doing," he says. "Existing law in a dozen different directions would have been probable cause for a traffic stop if an officer was in the area."
If passed by the Senate, HB 62 would exclude Austin and other cities that already have their own bans.