Distracted driving in Texas is defined as using a cell phone while driving, or not paying attention to the road. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 100,825 car accidents in 2014 that involved distracted drivers. This number was up by six percent from the year before.

Texas does not allow the use of cell phones if the driver is under the age of 18, or have had their learner’s permit for less than six months. Furthermore, using a cell phone in a school crossing zone is also prohibited. There is no statewide ban for drivers over the age of 18 when it comes to texting and driving, or using a cell phone while driving.

Laws

  • No cell phone usage for drivers under 18
  • No cell phone usage for those who have had their learner’s permit less than six months
  • No cell phone usage in a school crossing zone

There are a few cities in Texas that have enacted local ordinances against texting and driving. For example:

  • San Angelo: Drivers are banned from texting or using apps on their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.

  • Little Elm and Argyle: These cities have enacted hands free laws, meaning if a driver does need to use their cell phone, it needs to be on a hands free device.

The following are all the cities that have enacted located ordinances:

  • Amarillo
  • Austin
  • Corpus Christi
  • The Canyon
  • Dallas
  • El Paso
  • Galveston
  • Missouri City
  • San Angelo
  • Snyder
  • Stephenville

Fines

  • Maximum of $500, but may vary by location

In Texas, it is illegal for drivers under 18 or who have had learner’s permit less than six months to use a cell phone. Other than that, there are no statewide bans on using a cell phone or texting while driving. It is important to note that different cities have ordinances against these distractions. Normally, signs will be posted at city limits to inform motorists of changes in the law. While drivers should be aware of these changes, they should do the smart thing and avoid distracted driving in the first place.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Texas and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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