The state House voted today to let motorists to be able to continue tapping out messages while they're driving down the road.
The defeat comes amid a perennial debate at the Capitol about individual freedom versus the role of government. Rep. Steve Farley said there is a constitutional right of people to do stupid things.
"But that ends when you're protecting the liberty of somebody to take another person's life when you make the choice to text and run into somebody head-on as has happened in the state of Arizona and take their liberty away completely," he said.
But Rep. Eddie Farnsworth said state law already requires motorists to maintain control of their vehicles. He questioned why Arizona would single out texting for special attention.
"Unless we're willing to start saying that hamburgers, eating hamburgers while we're driving are illegal, and putting on makeup, those are probably good policies," said Farnsworth. "But does the state have to come in and tell us to do that when you already have a law that says you have to maintain control of your vehicle and if you don't that you're liable for the damages that happen as a result of your not controlling the vehicle."
And Rep. Jeff Dial said what is considered texting -- and would be banned -- to consider there already is software for cell phones that lets motorists speak their messages without pushing a bunch of keys.