Texas state legislators have said they believe the issue of whether or not to ban drivers from using handheld devices is best left up to the cities, and not the state. When the National Transportation Safety Board released their recommendation that all states ban handheld devices, Texas lawmakers were the first to say it was very unlikely to happen there.

In fact, cities like Dallas and Houston already have comprehensive bans on the use of handheld devices by drivers. Now Arlington has joined the list of Texas cities that bans handheld devices while driving, and already the new law is having an impact.

In fact, since the law went into effect last Thanksgiving, just four citations have been handed out, despite increased awareness and enforcement by law enforcement officers. City officials say the lack of citations shows that their driver education programs are working. Before the law went into effect, the city conducted a series of public service announcements letting drivers know that a texting ban was coming, what the punishment would be and why they shouldn’t have been doing it anyway.

Drivers learn at traffic school that distracted driving is worse, more dangerous, than driving under the influence of alcohol. It just doesn’t make sense to believe you can send a text message while driving down the highway at 55 mph. Or any speed, for that matter. But traffic school online isn’t the only place you can learn about the dangers of texting and driving: Try watching your nightly news.

According to statistics just released b y the NTSB distracted driving causes more traffic fatalities than any other single cause. In fact, you are twice as likely to have a crash if you try to text and drive than if you got behind the wheel after drinking. That doesn’t mean you should put down your cell phone and pick up a beer, however. It means that you need to be focused on your driving skills when you get behind the wheel. Nothing else.

So the next time you’re cruising through Arlington, Texas, remember to put the cell phone. In fact, if you’re cruising anywhere, lock your cell phone in glove box just to be on the safe side.

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net