As of September 1st, texting while operating a motor vehicle is illegal in Texas. An offense is punishable by a fine of $25.00-$99.00 for first time offenders, with fines increasing to the range of $100.00-$200.00 for repeat offenders. Additionally, if texting and driving results in death or bodily injury of another, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, including a fine to exceed $4,000.00 and jail time up to one year.
The new law may prove difficult to enforce due to numerous exceptions, which include the following:
- You may still use your phone for GPS navigation, music applications, and dialing phone numbers
- The law does not specifically address the use of internet browsers, search functions, gaming, or other phone applications
- Texting by a driver in an emergency situation is an exemption
- Workers sending and receiving dispatches via text and/or messaging apps. from devices fixed to a vehicle during the course of business are also exempt (most workers communicating with offices would be exempt as long as phones are mounted)
- Dictation or hands-free texting is allowed