ODESSA - The Teagues sat down in their home in West Odessa to recall with some tears the worst day of their life.
Their 22-year-old son, Dustin Teague, was driving on Highway 302. He was arguing with his wife, in the truck with him. Distracted, he drove into the center median, overcorrected and flew off the bar ditch on the right side of highway, rolling his truck several times as it entered a culvert.
He wasn't wearing a seatbelt, and the force of the wreck threw him from the vehicle. His wife lived; he died. It was Oct. 10, 2010. And within a six-week period, 13 other families would lose their children to auto accidents attributed to "distracted driving."
In the years since, as fatal accidents have increased in the booming Permian Basin, John and Shannon Teague have fought against distracted driving, founding a local group and organizing outreach campaigns. Next week, they'll travel to Austin to ask the Legislature and the governor to enact a proposed texting while driving ban.
Texting wasn't a primary cause of their son's death, they say. But distracted driving - which texting while driving exemplifies - was.
"Even taking away one form of distracted driving might help," Shannon Teague said. "If it helps families not to endure what we went through, it's worth it."
Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, first wrote a bill to ban texting while driving two years ago. He reintroduced it Nov. 12, 2012, for this 83rd session, while Texas Sen. Judith Zaffarini of the 21st District filed an identical bill in her chamber.
House Bill 63 would make it a criminal offense for someone to read, write or send a text message while driving. Drivers could still text at a stop, use hands-free devices and use their phones for GPS purposes. Legislators approved last go-round, but the governor did not, calling it a "government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."
Craddick says he expects a different result this year. More states have enacted bans since his last attempt. Now a total of 39 states have bans. So do 25 Texas cities. After Perry's veto, in fact, the National Transportation Safety Board encouraged all states to ban texting while driving. Additionally, the Texas departments of Public Safety and Transportation have announced their support of a ban.