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What are Texas’ distracted driving laws?

Nearly every state across the country has enacted some sort of blanket handheld device ban. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Texas currently does not have any law against distracted driving for all drivers. However, dozens of cities have prohibited texting while driving, though Houston has yet to enact such a ban.

You should be aware that there are drivers across the state who are not permitted to use cellphones while driving, and those include the following: 

  • School bus drivers cannot use cellphones if children are on board.
  • Drivers younger than 18 may not use any type of wireless communication device.
  • Drivers who have learner’s permits may use handheld devices only after six months of driving.
  • No one in a school zone is permitted to text or use a handheld device.

Should any of these drivers get caught using a phone, they face a fine ranging from $200 to $500, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Since 2009, roughly 40 cities throughout Texas have adopted some type of distracted driving legislation. These ordinances could be saving lives, as the state DOT reports that in 2014, driver inattention or cell phone use led to more than 100,000 car accidents. Those incidents caused 468 fatalities and 3,214 injuries.

The Texas DOT reminds motorists that using a handheld device puts them at a higher risk of causing an accident. In fact, even the use of hands-free devices has been linked to an increased risk of an accident. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report in 2013 that stated voice-activated technology still takes a driver’s attention off the road.

Experts urge drivers to let the calls and texts wait until they arrive at their destination. While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.


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