Understanding Texting and Driving Laws in Texas

One in five car accidents involve distracted driving, which is any activity, such aswhat-to-do-if-involved-in-an-accident texting, that diverts an individual’s attention away from driving. Drivers who text in their vehicles are at a much higher risk for collision than drivers who don’t. Texting while driving increases your chances of a crash by up to 8 to 23 times.

In 2014, there were 100,825 traffic crashes in Texas that involved distracted driving, an increase of 6 percent from 2013. These crashes resulted in 3,214 serious injuries and 468 deaths. Cell phone use while driving is the No. 1 distraction behind the wheel.

While Texas has no statewide law banning texting while driving, many cities and counties within the state do not allow or limit drivers using of cell phones behind the wheel. Nearly 40 cities have adopted ordinances since 2009. Austin became the first city to enact a ban on texting while driving. Fines range from $200 to $500.

Cell Phone Prohibitions in Texas

  • Drivers with learner’s permits are barred from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving.
  • Drivers who are under 18 are not allowed to use wireless communications devices.
  • Bus drivers are not allowed to use cell phones while driving school buses if children there are present.
  • In school zones, all drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving.

Types of Cell Phone Ordinances in Texas

  • Ban on all uses of cell phones and smartphones while behind the wheel.
  • Ban on texting and driving.
  • Ban on texting and other uses of wireless communication devices while driving.



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