Cell Phone & Driving Laws in TX
The data doesn’t lie – we know that distracted driving is a safety hazard. In 2019, more than 3,000 people in the U.S. were killed in car wrecks where at least one driver was distracted (NHTSA). In addition to those deadly crashes, there are thousands more where distracted drivers cause injury or property damage. Cell phone laws in Texas make clear the danger of distracted driving.
One of the biggest sources of distracted driving is probably in your hand right now: your cell phone.
In response, states including Texas have begun creating laws aimed at reducing behind-the-wheel cell phone use. If you’re a Texas resident (or just passing through), keep reading to learn more about the cell phone laws in your state.
Can You Text and Drive in Texas
If you’ve thought about texting while driving in Texas, think again. There is a statewide ban on sending or receiving texts while operating a vehicle. This law was passed in 2017.
The law specifically prohibits using a cell phone to “read, write, or send an electronic messages” while driving. The ban covers more than just your Messages app; emails and social media messages are also included.
Penalties for Texting and Driving in TX
If a police officer witnesses you texting behind the wheel in Texas, you can be pulled over. The offense is considered a misdemeanor. Fines range from $25–$99 for first-time offenders and $100–$200 for repeat offenders.
Of course, anyone who causes injury or death while texting and driving may face additional charges.
Using Other Phone Apps
We’ve established that texting is always illegal for Texas drivers. What about using a navigation app, taking voice calls, or using a hands-free device?
It’s still legal for drivers in most Texas cities to use their phone for GPS navigation (like Google Maps), music apps, and dialing numbers. However, an officer may still pull you over if they suspect you’re texting.
Can You Talk on the Phone While Driving in TX
Most Texas drivers can talk on the phone while driving, but the official answer depends on two factors: your age and location.
Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from ALL cell phone use while operating a vehicle. This includes both handheld and hands-free devices.
Drivers who are 18 or older can take voice calls, either with a handheld phone or with the help of hands-free technology like Bluetooth headphones or car speakers.
Cell Phones in School Zones
Regardless of your age, all drivers are required to put down their phone in a school zone. In Texas, it’s illegal to use your handheld device – whether for texting or voice calls – in a school zone during times when children may be present.
Hands-free calls and voice-to-text messages are allowed for drivers over 18.
Cell Phone Laws in Texas: Exceptions
It’s important to remember that some laws vary from city to city. While texting is illegal across the state, some Texas cities have passed their own ordinances that restrict phone use even further, banning handheld voice calls as well. Familiarize yourself with local laws in your area.
One big exception to all the prohibitions noted above?
Can You Text at a Stop Light or Stop Sign?
Times when your car is at a full stop. That’s right – if you’ve come to a complete stop at an intersection or in a school zone, you may send a text before you start moving again.
On Your Side – By Your Side in Texas
No matter your age, it’s always best to give the road your full attention. If you’ve been in a wreck because another driver was texting and driving, you may need a personal injury attorney. You may have legal rights to compensation for your injuries, and Taylor King Law can help. We’ll act quickly to get the distracted driver’s phone records and ensure you’re taken care of.
Call us today at 1.800.CAR.WRECK (1-800-227-9732). You can also reach us online through our chat feature or using our Online Contact Form. You’re just a call or click away from getting the help you need.
At Taylor King Law we’ll be on your side – by your side.