As of September 1st, 2017, It is now illegal to text while driving a vehicle in the State of Texas. A law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott last month will finally go into full effects and cover the entire state. Supporters of the bill hope it will make the roads safer; 1 in 5 crashes involves driver distraction, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Here is what you need to know:
- The law targets people who are on their cellphones reading, writing or sending a text message while driving.
- Law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers whose heads are down and who are swerving. “That’s a huge indicator that they might be texting and driving.”
- If a driver is stopped at a red light, it’s not a violation to be looking at a phone because they’re not “operating a vehicle” in that moment. However, be warned you that doing so means you are not 100% active in driving or paying attention to the signal changes.
- Cellphones can be used for GPS navigation and music, though drivers might still get pulled over if officers suspect them of texting. Be sure to use built-in or additional tools to control your iPhone without leaving the steering wheel.
- Instead of texting, seek out hands-free technology, like Bluetooth headsets or dictation functions and apps that type out words spoken aloud.
- Using a cellphone to report an emergency, like a car crash, while driving is OK under the law.
- Those who are caught texting and driving will face a fine up to $99 for the first offense and those who’ve previously been convicted could face up to $200.