It’s been a year since the City of Magnolia passed an ordinance against texting while driving within the city limits. According to Sgt. Silliman of the Magnolia Police Department, this ordinance is doing its job while making the city’s streets safer.
“There has been a 54 percent decrease in the number of auto crashes since the ordinance was passed last September,” said Silliman.
Silliman contends that thhis is a pretty important statistic because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov) sited the death of more than 3,000 people nationwide because of texting and driving, or one in ten traffic fatalities, in 2010.
Silliman would like to remind people that the ban on texting while driving still stands within the city limits. So far this year, 34 citations have been issued. Several other Texas cities prohibit texting while driving,, but so far this legislation has not been passed to extend such a law to the entire state. Texas is one of only 11 states without a ban on text messaging.
Driving near schools is an exception. The use of communication devices while driving in a school zone (this includes both texting and talking) is against the law statewide. Additionally, novice drivers in their first 12 months behind the wheel are prohibited from using cell phones for text or voice communication.
“Tragically, a lot of people think it’s harmless to text and drive,” Magnolia Police Chief Domingo Ibarra said. “We have had several fatal traffic accidents in Montgomery County that were due to texting and driving. The Magnolia ordinance is a benefit because once people realize texting and driving is illegal, it does get their attention and they tend to be more careful.”
Magnolia Mayor Todd Kana agreed.
“This ordinance was a move in the right direction," Kana said. "I have heard nothing but positive feedback from residents. As a smartphone user myself, I know it is easy to get distracted by these devices. When people know about the law, it is easier for them to stay focused."