Four months into the implementation of a statewide texting and driving ban in Texas, the state Department of Public Safety has released information indicating that they have only issues a total of 15 violations in regards to the law. One was a single citation while the remainder involved warnings. All violations were issued in Travis County.

As expected, the law is designed to help reduce accidents throughout the state; however, there are some pro-bill advocates who state that the bill as it is currently written doesn’t actually go far enough to prevent crashes that are fatal. Many say that a further step is required to be taken, which would involve totally banning usage of handheld phones while driving.

Austin’s hands-free ordinance initially went into effect on January 1, 2015 and mandates that when someone is driving, they are prohibited from having any type of electronic device in their hands, no matter what it’s being used for. A total of 2,841 citations were issued in the city between the dates of September 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. During this same time, the state Department of Public Safety issues a total of 1,474 violations to individuals all across the state of Texas who were found to be texting and driving.

Those found to be in violation of the ordinance will be hit with a Class C misdemeanor, as well as a fine of up to $500.

A further ordinance also went into effect when the initial ordinance passed, which requires individuals aged 18 and older to complete a mandatory course to help combat distracted driving prior to obtaining a driver’s license anywhere in the state of Texas. The course, which is referred to as Impact Texas Young Drivers, is free to take, and there is also a similar course for those aged 16 and 17 as well.

Thank you for visiting Gabriella Young’s blog. I am an Austin criminal defense lawyer. I write about local laws, events and news to keep Austinites informed.