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Is it Against the Law in Texas to Talk on a Cell Phone While Driving?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation Talk, Text, Crash report, in 2018 there were 95,572 distracted driving accidents, many of which were caused by texting. This includes 394 deaths and 2,340 serious injuries. Young, inexperienced drivers are often responsible.

The DWI in Texas statistics for 2018 state that 940 Texans were killed in accidents involving a driver was under the influence. Many of these crashes are also caused by young drivers. Unfortunately, distracted driving and DWI are not treated with the same level of seriousness.

Drunk driving is widely recognized and acknowledged as a risk. Studies have shown the majority of drivers believe they will be fine if they just look away from the road for a few seconds. This is simply not true, and it is tragically proven all too often.

Until we take the dangers of distracted driving just as seriously as we do DWI, these crashes will continue to escalate in frequency. Read more about the laws in Texas to have the best chance of staying safe. Following the law is just the first step. Be vigilant when driving.

Texas Cell Phone Laws

Cell phones are a major contributor to accidents caused by distracted driving in Texas. All drivers should be aware of current laws regarding cell phone use when operating a motor vehicle.

If someone causes an accident while violating one of these ordinances, they could be held liable for property damage or injuries. Texas statutes involving cell phone use include:


No one may read, write, or send email or text messages using a hand-held electronic device while operating a vehicle that is in motion.

Teenage Drivers

Drivers under 18 years old may not use a cell phone or other electronic device for any purpose while driving except in emergencies.

Learner’s Permit

A hand-held device may not be used for any purpose while driving during the first six months after obtaining a learner’s permit.

School Zones

The use of hand-held devices to talk or text is completely prohibited for all drivers operating a car in a school crossing zone.

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers cannot use a wireless communication device for any purpose while the bus is in motion if he or she is transporting a passenger under the age of 18.

Local Ordinances

In addition to the state-wide laws listed above, many city councils have enacted local laws regarding cell phone use. For example, talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving is prohibited by several Texas municipalities including:

  • Amarillo
  • Austin
  • Corpus Christi
  • El Paso
  • Laredo
  • San Antonio

In cities where talking on a hand-held device while driving is restricted, there may be provisions to allow for cell phone use. These provisions can include using hands-free technology like Bluetooth, speakerphone, or waiting until the vehicle is stopped.

Be sure you understand your local ordinances regarding cell phone use while driving before you get behind the wheel. The safest practice is to drive now and use your cell phone later.

Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States. If you were involved in a car accident caused by someone who was talking on his or her cell phone, the distracted driver may have been breaking the law.

There are currently no statutes prohibiting the practice of talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving. Texas cell phone ordinances prohibit the use of cell phones while driving, but the consequences are not anywhere near as severe as Texas DWI laws.

If you or a loved one has been injured, you may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss whether you are entitled to compensation. Your lawyer will manage your case and talk to insurance companies, medical experts, and liable parties on your behalf.

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