AUSTIN, Texas — A new bill could slow down your driving speed around neighborhoods. The bill, introduced to the Texas House of Representatives, is looking to reduce the speed from 30 to 25 mph in residential areas.
"It's hard because we are two full-time working parents," said Lamar and Danielle Smothers.
They said taking care of the kids while playing outside can already be a hassle.
"Now we have to worry about people speeding through neighborhoods," Danielle said.
Because of hectic drivers, safety of their children is a top priority for the Smothers family. The bill would lessen that worry.
House Bill 1287 was introduced by Texas Representative Celia Israel, relating to the speed limit on certain streets and highways.
"It's incredibly rough on the family," said Kathy Sokolic, who lives around the Mueller neighborhood in Austin.
The bill was introduced a little too late for Sokolic and her family. Her nephew, Ben, was only 9-years-old when a distracted driver in a pickup truck hit him.
"Now he can't read, speak or be on his own because he requires 24-hour care," Sokolic said, tearful in remembering who little Ben was.
"Your life can change in an instant," Sokolic explained. "It's not just your life, it's a lot of people involved."
The bill would also make the following speeds lawful:
- 25 mph in an urban district (residential areas) on a street other than an alley, and 15 mph in an alley.
- 70 mph on a highway numbered by the State of Texas or the United States outside an urban district, including a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road.
- 60 mph if the vehicle is a school bus that has passed a commercial motor vehicle inspection and is on a highway.
- 15 mph if driving along a public beach, or a county road adjacent to a public beach.
Sokolic hopes others don't deal with the same tragedy their family is facing with the near-death experience of little Ben right in front of his home.
"It's heartbreaking to lose a family member to negligence or a simple car crash that could have been prevented," she said. "When a child experiences a brain injury following an accident, it can be paralyzing for the family."
If House Bill 1287 passes, the reduced speed applies across state residential areas.
"Keep in mind that kids play and whether there's signs posted or not, you still have to watch out," Lamar explained.
If you are interested in reading the entire bill, click here.