Texas Driving Laws: New Cell Phone and Inspection Policies

5 May

TDS Blog 3-31

The state of Texas has been hesitant to adopt a state-wide texting and driving law, but two major Texas cities have stepped forward to make their streets safer. Thirteen states prohibit all drivers from using cellphones, and 37 states (including Texas) have bans on phone use by teen drivers.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one in five crashes involves driver distraction, and drivers who use cell phones in their vehicles have a higher risk of collision, whether holding the phone or using a hands-free device. But now, two Texas major cities, San Antonio and Austin, have passed new ordinances that prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving…as well as while riding a bicycle!

Texting Fines

Distracted driving violations typically warrant different fines in different places, and that’s no exception here in Texas. If you’re caught using your phone behind the wheel in San Antonio, you could be stuck with a $200 fine; however, that fine jumps to $500 in Austin.

Other Cell Phone Use Laws

But these new laws in San Antonio and Austin don’t cancel out other state-wide laws that are already in effect. Drivers with learners’ permits are prohibited from using handheld cell phones during their first six months of driving, and drivers under 18 are prohibited from using all devices. It’s still illegal to use devices in school crossing zones, and school bus drivers can’t use phones if children are present.

Other Texas Cities Where Texting and Driving is Illegal

The dangers of texting and driving have spread far beyond the cities of San Antonio and Austin. In fact, there are currently 40 Texas cities that have some type of texting and driving ban. In alphabetical order, these cities are:

  • Alamo
  • Alice
  • Amarillo
  • Aransas Pass
  • Arlington
  • Austin
  • Bellaire
  • Brownsville
  • Canyon
  • Conroe
  • Converse
  • Corpus Christi
  • Denton
  • El Paso
  • Farmers Branch
  • Galveston
  • Grand Prairie
  • Harlingen
  • Helotes
  • Laredo
  • Magnolia
  • Maypearl
  • McAllen
  • Meadowlakes
  • Mission
  • Missouri City
  • Mount Vernon
  • Nacogdoches
  • Palmview
  • Pampa
  • Penitas
  • Richwood
  • Rowlett
  • San Antonio
  • Shoreacres
  • Sinton
  • Stephenville
  • Tomball
  • Universal City
  • West University Place

Another New Texas Driving Law

Texting and driving aside, there some other new laws for 2015 that Texas drivers will need to keep in mind. As of March 2015, Texas drivers are not required to have inspection stickers on their windshields; however, they still do need to have their cars inspected.

This means one less sticker on your windshield, but state inspection sites still have to check your tires, lights, wipers, and everything else before you’re able to register your vehicle. One of the big perks of this new law is saving the state of Texas about $2 million in materials and management costs.

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