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Family Says No Text Message Is Worth a Life

At the Capitol today, the family of a young girl who died in a car accident caused by texting and driving urged lawmakers to ban the practice.

Demonstration car placed by the Brown family to raise awareness on dangers of texting while driving. March 9th, 2011

Alex Brown was on her way to school in 2009 when she crashed her truck and died because of a text message. Now, her family is on a mission to make sure other Texans don't endure a similar a tragedy. Their message is simple: No text is worth a life. 

At the Capitol today, the Browns urged lawmakers to approve a ban on texting and driving. Jeanne and Johnny Mac Brown have visited 190 high schools across Texas and the country to educate students about the dangers of texting and driving, bringing their daughter's wrecked truck along as a vivid warning. 

"Everybody with a cell phone and a driver's license is probably guilty of doing it," Johnny Mac Brown said. "And the only reason we do this is so no other family has to lose someone from a senseless death." 

The Browns testified in support of HB 243, which would prohibit texting and driving in Texas. The bill's author, Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, had planned to attend the press conference, but was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital after collapsing at the Capitol earlier this morning.

The family said drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident while texting, a risk level that is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. 

"I wish we could have done this two sessions ago," said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio.

Current Texas law bans texting in school zones, and some cities ban phone usage while driving altogether. But the measure lawmakers are considering now would ban only texting. A first penalty could cost up to $200.

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