Texas Governor Rick Perry has vetoed a bill that would make it illegal to send or read text messages while behind the wheel.
In fact, this was only one of 23 bills that were vetoed by Governor Perry on June 17, 2011. While lawmakers had approved the anti-texting bill in May, Perry said that it was an “overreach” and that it was a “government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”
The bill had been encouraged by former House speaker Tom Craddick, who called it an important public safety measure. On the House floor, though, the bill was rather controversial, sparking tremendous arguments over whether or not the legislation would lead to criminalizing a driver simply because that individual had received a text message while behind the wheel.
At least 30 states in the country have already passed laws that forbid the receipt and sending of texts while driving, and within Texas, both El Paso and San Antonio have enacted their own bans.
Perry’s veto statement said that “The keys to dissuading drivers of all ages from texting while driving are information and education.” As an alternative to the law, Perry stated that he recommends that the public received more education regarding the issue of safe driving behaviors by way of public service advertisements and announcements, and driver’s education courses.
Perry is known for his record setting number of vetoes by a Texas government – a recognition that he received in 2000 when he vetoed 83 different bills. In fact, on June 17, 2001, the last day of bill consideration, Perry shot down so many bills that the day was labeled the “Father’s Day Massacre” by politics experts.