Distracted Driving

Texas Distracted Driving Laws

Texas is one of the last few states which has no state-wide distracted driving laws. Distracted driving laws prohibit drivers from using cell phones for calling or texting while driving.

Despite no state-wide legislation on distracted driving, Texas still has certain state laws but also local laws which prohibit certain uses of handheld devices while operating a vehicle.

Texas Distracted Driving laws summary:

These are the current Texas distracted driving laws:

  1. drivers under 18 may not use a phone in any way while driving
  2. mobile phones may not be used by anyone while driving in a school zone unless they’re in hands-free mode
  3. drivers with learner’s permits are not allowed to use phones in first six months of driving
  4. school bus operators are prohibited from using phones if children under 17 are present.

Young drivers under 18 are completely prohibited from using cell phones while driving in Texas. Wireless headsets, phones mounted on dashboards, or other hands-free uses are also illegal. Only exceptions are in case of emergencies.

While driving in a school zone, all drivers are also not permitted to call or text while driving.

As mentioned, Texas does not have a state-wide legislation completely prohibiting distracted driving. However, over 95 cities have adopted local laws prohibiting texting while driving. Full list can be found on Texas Department of Transportation website here, or see below:

Alamo, Alice, Amarillo, Angleton, Anthony, Aransas Pass, Argyle, Arlington, Austin, Balcones Heights, Bedford, Bee Cave, Bellaire, Big Lake, Boerne, Brazoria, Brownsville, Buda, Canyon, Carrizo Springs, Castle Hills, Conroe, Converse, Corpus Christi, Deer Park, Denton, Edinburg, El Paso, Farmers Branch, Floresville, Fredericksburg, Galveston, Garden Ridge, Grand Prairie, Groesbeck, Harlingen, Helotes, Hereford, Hill Country Village, Hurst, Jacksonville, Kingsville, Kyle, Laguna Vista, Lake Dallas, Lake Tanglewood, Lakeway, Laredo, Liberty Hill, Little Elm, Lockhart, Magnolia, Maypearl, McAllen, Meadowlakes, Midland, Midlothian, Mission, Missouri City, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Nacogdoches, New Braunfels, Overton, Palmview, Pampa, Pecos, Penitas, Pharr, Port Aransas, Richwood, Rowlett, San Angelo, San Antonio, San Benito, San Juan, San Marcos, Schertz, Seagoville, Seguin, Selma, Shoreacres, Sinton, Snyder, Socorro, Stephenville, Sunnyvale, Sunset Valley, Sweetwater, Tomball, Universal City, Watauga, Westlake Hills, West University Place, Wimberly, White Settlement, Windcrest

Some cities only ban texting while driving, some permit using phones in hands-free mode, and some Texas cities completely banned using mobile phones while driving. Due to many differences and constant changes we are unable to list each city laws individually, so ensure you double-check current and updated laws for your area.

State-wide phone ban laws

In March of 2017, The Texas House passed a statewide ban on texting while driving. Legislation is tentatively approved, but must get a final vote in the House before it can proceed to the Senate.

Under these new laws (“House Bill 62″) drivers will be charged with a misdemeanor, with fines ranging from $25 up to $99. Repeat offenders may be liable for up to $200 per offense.

Feel free to stay tuned to our website as we’ll keep an eye on the Bill and update accordingly!

Penalties

Breaking distracted driving laws is considered a traffic infraction, and each violation carries a fine ranging from $200 to $500.

Additional surcharges, fees, or driver license penalty points may also be applied. Each local jurisdiction has different penalties for distracted driving.

Under upcoming House Bill 62, distracted driving will be considered a misdemeanor. Fines are to be from $25 to $99. Repeat offenders will have to pay up to $200 for each subsequent distracted driving law violation.


References and sources:

  1. Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.424 – Operation of vehicle by person under 18 years of age
  2. Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.425 – Use of wireless communication device in school crossing zone or while operating a school bus
  3. Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.4252 – Use of wireless communication device on school property
  4. Texas Department of Transportation – Cell Phone Ordinances

Calling or texting while driving has been proven multiple times to be very unsafe. Texas laws are very specific and do not permit drivers using any electronic devices without a hands-free mode.

Basic headsets which allow hands free communication cost less than violating the law even once.

This article about Texas Distracted Driving Laws was last updated in 2019. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!