Two laws passed in the wake of a fatal accident are still not in effect. The Laguna Vista city commission passed the laws in May. The victim Rebecca Haugh was walking next to FM 510 with her husband. A distracted driver on her phone hit Rebecca and killed her. City leaders passed two laws to prevent this from happening again. Just weeks after the crash, city commissioners took swift action. They banned texting and driving and driving too close to a pedestrian or cyclist. The victim’s son said the laws brought comfort. Months later, those laws are still not in effect.
City Manager Rolando Vela said, “Part of the process is to ensure those signs are up before we can effectively or officially enforce those ordinances.” Vela said they are still designing the road signs. The city wants to post eight to ten signs along FM 510 and Highway 100. TX-DOT owns the property, which means they have to approve the signs. Texas Department of Transportation Spokesperson Octavio Saenz said, “We have standards throughout the state of Texas and because it is on a state highway, they need to be maintained.” Vela showed us some of the signs they submitted with pictures and bright colors. TX-DOT did not approve. According to TX-DOT, they want to stick to regulation black and white. It bans more than texting and driving. It bans cell phone use altogether.
The city will now go back and ask for a modification. Haugh’s family and the community wish the signs weren’t necessary. Vela knows as each day goes by without one, his small community is still at risk. The two laws state drivers are not allowed to text and drive and must stay at least three-feet away from anyone walking, jogging or cycling on the road. Violators can be fined up to $500.
As for the driver accused of distracted driving in that fatal accident, she pled not guilty to negligent homicide. The trial for Ana-Luisa Alcocer Padilla is set for Monday, Nov.17. Investigators said she was allegedly surfing the internet on her cell phone.