It is now illegal to text while driving in the state of Texas. A law banning texting while driving was one of hundreds of new state laws that went into effect on September first.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one in five car crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving. TxDot Executive Director James Bass said the new law sends a clear message to Texans to put down their phones and focus on the road.
Under the statewide law drivers can face fines up to $99. In Abilene, police officers are allowed to pull over vehicles if they witness texting or reading text messages. With the driver's consent they can search the phone.
For those under 18, Texas law already bans all cell phone use while driving, including hands-free, except in the case of emergencies. Drivers are also banned from texting and using hand-held cellular devices while driving in school zones.