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What Is Texas Law on Texting While Driving?

The Texas Department of Transportation says approximately one in five Texas auto accidents in 2020 were caused by distracted driving, leading to 364 deaths and 2,200 injuries that year. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things people do on their cell phones when they are behind the wheel, which is why texting while driving is illegal in Texas and nearly every other state.

Texting while driving is a “primary offense” under Texas law, which means you can be pulled over and cited for it even if you weren’t speeding or committing any other offense at the time. The penalties for texting while driving are:

  • First offense — Fine of at least $25 but not more than $99
  • Subsequent offenses — Fine of at least $100 and up to $200
  • Offenses where someone is seriously injured or killed — Fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail

Although texting while driving is completely banned, a driver’s use of a cell phone for other purposes is still allowed under some circumstances. Here are some of the rules governing the broader use of cell phones while driving:

  • Drivers 18 years of age and older may speak on a cell phone while driving and can do so while holding their phone in their hand
  • Drivers under 18 cannot use a handheld cell phone
  • Handheld cell phone use by drivers of all ages is banned while driving on public school property and in school crossing zones
  • School bus drivers cannot use handheld cell phones while driving if children are on the bus
  • Drivers with learner’s permits cannot use cell phones in the first six months of driving

Some individual cities in Texas have gone further than these state rules by banning all handheld cell phone use while driving. Austin, San Antonio and El Paso are three examples of cities that have passed ordinances requiring hands-free devices for making calls.

If you or someone you love was hurt in a wreck, your injury attorney can request the other driver’s cell phone records to help determine whether texting and/or other cell phone use might have contributed to the crash. Identifying instances of distracted driving and proving that behavior contributed to the crash takes skill and experience on the part of your lawyer, so be sure to retain one who has a track record of helping people injured under such circumstances.

At the Law Offices of J. Kent McAfee, PC, we know to how to recover compensation for people injured in texting-while-driving accidents and all other types of auto wrecks. We offer a free initial consultation where we can evaluate your case and explain your options. To get yours, please call our Fort Worth office at 817-332-7676 or contact us online today.


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