What You Need To Know About the Texas Driving Law
Section 545.425 of the Texas Driving code expressly prohibits the use of any wireless communication device in the hands of drivers under the age of 18. The only exception is an emergency.
Furthermore, drivers of any age are forbidden to use a wireless communication device in a school zone unless the vehicle is parked or the driver is operating a hands-free device. A "wireless communications device" is any device that operates from a commercial mobile service and this could include a laptop, tablet notebook or cell phone.New Texas Anti-Texting Law
On June 6, 2017, the law was signed, and in September it went into effect, which makes it a makes it a minor crime for drivers to access any mobile device (wireless communication device) for reading, writing or sending a message while they are behind the wheel of a vehicle, unless the vehicle is motionless.
This latest law was long overdue and most other states have already implemented laws of this nature to reduce the number of deaths and accidents caused by distracted driving. Research has already proven that those states that have introduced these laws have experienced a considerable reduction in their accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving.
In Texas, many cities were forced to take action and push for legislation that will protect communities and motorists. It is the goal of Law HB 62 to remedy this serious condition.Penalties for Driving And Using wireless Communications Devices Under the Law
First-time offenders will face a fine of $25 and $99, second-time offenders will have to pay anywhere from $100 and $200.Defenses Available
There are some defenses that can be applied to the situation. A driver has a good defense if:
- The driver is using voice-activated technology or speaking through a hands-free device.
- The driver is reporting illegal activity or otherwise seeking emergency assistance.
- The driver is reading a message they believe could be related to a serious emergency
- The driver is relaying an important emergency message to emergency dispatchers through a device affixed to the vehicle for this purpose.
- Also, drivers who are operating authorized law enforcement or emergency vehicles and communicating through a radio device are exempt from this charge.
The new law also provides the opportunity
There will be notifications of this sort posted throughout the highways and interstates of Texas by the Texas Department of Transportation. These will further serve to notify the public of the dangers and consequences of this activity.Other Factors
Under Law HB 62, the officer is not authorized to seize the driver's cell phone unless permitted by some other law. Also, the DMV will not assign point against drivers who have been fined for this misdemeanor.DOT Safety Tips
The following safety tips are provided by the US Department of Transit:
- Keep all electronic devices turned off and stowed before beginning your trip.
- Be a good sample
toyounger drivers by keeping your hands free from wireless communications devices while you are on the road.
- Speak up if you are a passenger and notice the driver of your car practicing this very dangerous stunt. Offer to make a call for the driver so they can pay attention to the task at hand.
- Never forget the importance of seat belts when you drive. This is the best defense against other unsafe drivers.