Starting September 1st, 2017, Texas will finally make texting and driving illegal statewide!
Governor Greg Abbott announced on June 6th that he’s signed House Bill 62 into law. Under the new law, texting while driving within the state of Texas will be punishable by a fine of $25-99 for first-time offenders, and $100-200 for repeat offenders (though no points will be assigned).
The new law also states that if an accident caused by texting and driving results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year.
Dozens of Texas cities already ban texting while driving. The state law covers texting only and prohibits the use of hand-held phones to "read write or send an electronic message" while driving. Other Internet use for navigation or music programs is allowed.
It’s important to note that this new law only addresses “reading, writing, or sending electronic messages” via a “wireless communication device.” While the new law includes a provision to preempt local texting-and-driving ordinances, it does not address stricter cell phone bans (i.e., hands-free laws) put in place by at least 45 Texas cities such as Austin, Denton, and San Antonio.