Calling it a hazard more dangerous than drunk driving, the Texas House has tentatively approved a bill that would outlaw the practice statewide.

The bill would make it a Class C Misdemeanor to send text, electronic and instant messages while driving.  It would not apply to a driver who is stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. Violators could be fined as much as $200.

The bill's sponsor - Rep. Tom Craddick of Midland - says a lot of people are being killed because of texting behind the wheel, and making that practice illegal will save lives.

Craddick's bill passed the tentative vote 124-16.  Lawmakers who voted against it said the bill raises privacy and civil liberty concerns.

The House must take one more vote on today, and if it passes it goes to the Senate.

via Texas House votes to ban texting while driving | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle.

Craddick, a former House speaker, says credible research shows texting while driving is 20 times more dangerous than drunk driving.

He dismissed complaints from critics who say a law against texting and driving could erode their rights.  He says driving on public roadways is not a right.  It's a privilege granted by the state and the state can take it away.