Texas Statewide Texting Ban Starts Friday

House Bill 62, also known as the Alex Brown Memorial Act, goes into effect statewide Friday, September 1, 2017, prohibiting texting while driving.

State Representative Tom Craddick fought for a distracted driving law for six years before HB 62 passed. Craddick stated, ‘”This is a landmark moment for public safety in Texas. For others, the day is bittersweet; it is a reminder that this legislation comes too late and came with a cost. I think of the Texans who lost their lives to these preventable crashes and unnecessary tragedies; I dedicate this bill to their memory.'”

Drivers can be convicted of a misdemeanor if witnessed writing or reading a text while their vehicle is moving. First-time offenders will pay a fine of $25 to $99, and second time offenders will be responsible for $100 to $200. For those distracted drivers who inadvertently cause death or severe bodily injury while texting and driving, a fine up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail are possible.

While Governor Abbot signed the bill into law on June 6, 2017, he pushed for more. “We don’t need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”

Currently, 60 Texas cities have local hands-free laws. SB 15, authored by State Senator Huffines, answers the Governor’s concern by voiding local ordinances. Huffines argued, “‘We don’t need 45 different cities passing different rules and regulations how to operate your cell phone.'” SB 15 passed the Senate on July 27, 2017.

Friday also marks a change in the law for young drivers seeking licenses. Now, along with being prohibited from using wireless communication devices while driving, they are required to view a 2-hour video on distracted driving under the Impact Texas Teen Drivers Program.

Whether or not you agree with hands-free laws, the words of state Rep. Eddie Lucio III ring true, “(The problem) is what drinking and driving was to previous generations.”

  • Roger Young

    “(The problem) is what drinking and driving was to previous generations.”
    Yes, and those goofy, liberty-hating laws haven’t stopped THAT from happening, now have they?
    With self driving cars, it won’t be long until actually driving a car will be outlawed by our government masters.

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  • Natefromtexas

    Despicable. We already had distracted driving laws, this is just more erosion of freedom and cause to harass drivers. We keep sliding down this slippery slope. It won’t stop or significantly reduce texting while driving, just fine those who can’t afford to pay any more fines. And if the legislature actually gave a damn about eliminating distractions while driving they would also prohibit operating the car radio, the climate control system, billboards (it’s okay to read that text message specifically targeted to drivers to take their eyes of the road) and anything else that took yours eyes off the road. But it’s not really about that is it? Nope a few people are irresponsible, and the “MADD” type citizens out there want to punish everyone for it. The activists feel better about themselves, the legislature pretends they made the world safer, law enforcement gets another way to stop and search and seize your property, and the criminal justice systems continues profiting and racketeering. Is this the society you really want?

    Will citizens be able to fine law enforcement if they are caught using their electronic devices and laptops while driving too?

    The truth is, they really don’t care about your safety, just their ability to regulate and profit from it. I’m very disappointed to see people who consider themselves conservative support this very progressive measure.

  • Texian for Independence

    Nonsense. Tyrannical nonsense.