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by Jeff Rasansky - November 17, 2016
Jeff Rasansky
Jeff Rasansky, managing partner of Rasansky Law Firm, is an aggressive Dallas personal injury lawyer with 25 years of legal experience.

While Texas still doesn’t have a statewide ban on texting and driving, as of 2016, at least 96 cities have banned the practice.

Last updated: December 12th, 2016 (12/07/2016)

Unlike nearly every US state, Texas has no state-wide law banning texting while driving. Only Texas, Arizona, Missouri, and Montana have yet to ban the practice. In fact, many of the most populous states have already beefed up their existing bans or have passed more-stringent hands-free laws, banning all handheld use of phones, tablets, and gaming devices while operating an automobile.

Why is Texas lagging behind the rest of the nation?

Well, Texas has actually passed a ban on texting while driving… In fact, we’ve done it twice. In 2011, the Texas Legislature was successful in passing a statewide ban. Unfortunately (and despite overwhelming public support), it was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry. Again in 2013, a similar bill was passed with wide bipartisan support, but it died after the Senate Transportation Committee refused to allow a vote on the bill. In 2015, another bill aimed at banning texting and driving (House Bill 80) was introduced. The bill (which was approved by the Texas House panel) would have prohibited the use of portable wireless technology while operating a motor vehicle within the state, but was ultimately defeated in the Senate before becoming law.

Texas Texting and Driving LawsNow to be fair, Texas does forbid drivers from using hand-held communication devices (phones) in school zones, and Texas law also states that school bus drivers (and new drivers) must refrain from texting or making telephone calls while driving—even with a hands-free device (see more). Unfortunately, this only applies to a very select group of drivers and ignores the fact that distracted driving affects all age groups and types of drivers.

In 2013 alone, 3,154 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers. An additional 424,000 were injured in these car accidents (94,943 accidents to be exact). In 2015, there were 105,783 traffic crashes in Texas that involved distracted driving, leading to at least 476 fatalities. The sobering truth is that texting while driving makes a car accident 23 times more likely to occur. While we can debate the effectiveness and enforceability of these distracted driving laws, these same arguments can be (and were) made with regard to seat belt laws emerging in the 1960s. Just because something is difficult to enforce, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the issue.

We all know that using a cell phone while driving is incredibly dangerous and should be illegal, and as such, many Texas cities have taken the initiative to ban the dangerous practice within their jurisdictions. These cities include: Alamo, Alice, Amarillo, Angleton, Anthony, Aransas Pass, Argyle, Arlington, Austin, Balcones Heights, Bedford, Bee Cave, Bellaire, Big Lake, Boerne, Brazoria, Brownsville, Buda, Canyon, Castle Hills, College Station, Conroe, Converse, Corpus Christi, Deer Park, Denton, Edinburg, El Paso, Farmers Branch, Floresville, Fredericksburg, Galveston, Garden Ridge, Grand Prairie, Groesbeck, Harlingen, Helotes, Hereford, Hill Country Village, Hurst, Jacksonville, Kingsville, Kyle, Laguna Vista, Lake Dallas, Lake Tanglewood, Lakeway, Laredo, Liberty Hill, Little Elm, Lockhart, Magnolia, Maypearl, McAllen, Meadowlakes, Midland, Midlothian, Mission, Missouri City, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Nacogdoches, New Braunfels, Overton, Palmview, Pampa, Pecos, Penitas, Pharr, Port Aransas, Richwood, Rowlett, San Angelo, San Antonio, San Juan, San Marcos, Schertz, Seagoville, Seguin, Selma, Shoreacres, Sinton, Snyder, Socorro, Stephenville, Sunnyvale, Sunset Valley, Sweetwater, Tomball, University City, Watauga, West Lake Hills, West University Place, White Settlement, Wimberley, and Windcrest. Several other cities (including Houston, Abilene, Lewisville, Sugar Land, Port Arthur and Mexia) are currently looking at passing similar measures.

Some of these cities have enacted laws banning texting while driving (shown immediately below), while others have enacted more-restrictive “hands-free” ordinances (skip to cities with hands-free laws).


Cities in Texas which ban texting and driving.


Alamo, Texas

Alamo City Council passed a texting and driving ban (Ordinance No. 13-01-11) on November 1st, 2011.

This ordinance prohibits drivers from sending or viewing text messages, viewing or accessing websites, and/or viewing or accessing other data the uses commonly-recognized electronic communications protocol while driving (even when stopped in traffic). Talking on the phone and using GPS is still legal.


Angleton, Texas

City Council members unanimously passed an ordinance banning the use of portable electronic devices while driving in September of 2015. According to Angleton’s code of ordinances, it is now illegal to use hold, touch or even view a portable electronic device (phone, tablet, gaming device, etc.) while operating a motor vehicle within city limits, excpet if making a phone call. Drivers are still permitted to use a GPS device, but it must be affixed to the vehicle.

A person convicted of an offense under this ordinance shall be punished by a fine up to $500.


Arlington, Texas

A ban on texting and driving was passed in September 2011 and enforced as of November 2011.

The ordinance bans any use of mobile phones while driving, except to make a call (no texting, e-mailing, gaming or using your GPS without a mount). The law also applies at stop signs and stoplights.

Offending drivers could face a fine of up to $200.


Austin, Texas

The City Council of Austin banned texting and driving (ordinance 20091022-028) in October of 2009. In 2014, the city of Austin also passed a more-strict hands-free ordinance (see below).

The 2009 ordinance states that a driver of a motor vehicle may not use a phone, tablet, or other wireless communication device to view, send, or compose an electronic message while moving, per City of Austin Ordinance No. 20091022-028 and 20091217-090. This law is commonly known as the “texting-while-driving ban.”


Balcones Heights, Texas

In December of 2010, Balcones Heights passed an ordinance (No. 2010-15) banning texting while driving. Section 70.05 of the Balcones Heights traffic code denotes that using a hand-held communication device for anything other than dialing a number or talking to another person is a criminal offense. A person convicted of an offense under this section shall be punished by a fine of up to $200.


Bellaire, Texas

The city voted to ban texting while driving in December of 2009.

The ordinance (09-085) bans texting while driving, and also prohibits web surfing and accessing social networking sites on mobile devices. Making calls, communicating while stopped, or using an installed GPS or navigation system is still allowed.

Violators face fines up to $500.


Big Lake, Texas

On February 17 2011, the city of Big Lake banned texting while driving with the passage of ordinance No. 11-02-15-1.

According to Section 12.03.009 of the the traffic code, it is illegal to send, compose or view electronic messages on a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. However, drivers are still permitted to operate an affixed GPS unit, dial phone numbers, and make calls while driving.


Brazoria, Texas

The city of Brazoria has passed an ordinance banning texting while driving. According to section 12.04.001 of the Brazoria municipal code, it shall be unlawful for an operator of a motor vehicle to use a wireless communication device to view, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any roadway in the city. Hand-held phone calls are still allowed, as is the use an a GPS device.

Any person who violates this ordinance (no. 11-005) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.


Brownsville, Texas

A ban on texting while driving (Ordinance No. 2011-1539) was approved by the City Commission on February 15, 2011. The ordinance prohibits drivers from texting while driving within city limits.

Violators face fines up to $500.


Canyon, Texas

The City of Canyon voted 3-1 to enacted a ban on texting while driving (Ordinance No. 960) in May of 2012, which went into effect on August 1st, 2012.

While behind the wheel, you can no longer legally send messages, write emails, use apps, enter directions, view websites, or do any other sort of typing on your mobile device. You can, however, still talk on the phone.

Violators face a $200 fine.


Castle Hills, Texas

In 2011, the city of Castle Hills enacted an ordinance (No. 1067) banning texting while driving. According to section 44-121 of the Castle Hills municipal code, “a person commits an offense if the person uses a hand-held mobile communication device to send, read, or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, engage in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle.”


Conroe, Texas

City council members voted to ban texting while driving in March of 2010. The ordinance prohibits texting while driving in the city limits, and even applies when you are stopped on the side of the road.

If you’re caught, the fine can be up to $500.


Converse, Texas

A ban on texting and driving (Ordinance No. 734) was passed by City Council in November of 2010.

A person commits an offense if they use a “wireless communication device to send, read, or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, engage in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle.” Making and receiving a phone call is permissible, as is using an affixed GPS device.

A person convicted of an offense shall be punished by a fine of up to $200 (not counted as a moving violation).


Denton, Texas

The city unanimously voted to pass the ordinance banning texting while driving (Ord. No. 2014-112) on May 6th of 2014, which went into effect on May 20th, 2014. In December of 2016, Denton also passed a hands-free ordinance, banning all hand-held use of phones while driving.

Denton’s texting and driving ordinance banned cell phone use for anything other than calls while driving. Texting, operating a GPS device or other apps, surfing the internet, etc. is considered a violation. Using Bluetooth or hands-free technology will still be allowed, as will talking on the phone and dialing a number. The ordinance does not apply to drivers on interstate highways running through the city. The new hands-free ordinance (detailed further down this page) goes a step further.


Edinburg, Texas

City Council adopted the ban on texting and driving in November of 2012.

Edinburg’s ban prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from using a wireless communication device (including a cellular phone or other electronic media device) to view, send, or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any public roadway within the city, including when stopped at red lights or stop signs. There exist exemptions for drivers who are using a GPS device or notifying police of an accident.

Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $500.


Farmers Branch, Texas

On March 18th, 2014, the city unanimously passed an ordinance (Ord. No. 3274) that makes texting and driving illegal in the city of Farmers Branch.

Drivers are forbidden to send, receive, or read text messages while in a vehicle unless legally parked. This also includes reading, writing, or sending email; posting or reading any type of communication or messages on social media; accessing the internet; or using any applications on a smartphone (with the exclusion of voice activated GPS).

Tickets for an uncontested violation are estimated to cost $191.


Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas has banned texting while driving. According to section 44-40 of Fredericksburg’s municipal code, it shall be unlawful for a driver or operator of a motor vehicle to use a wireless communication device to view, send, compose an electronic message or other information, or manually engage in the use of other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any roadway in the city, including when stopped or standing.

Drivers are however permitted to dial phone numbers when making a call, as well as when operating a global position or navigation system.


Galveston, Texas

Galveston City Council voted to amendment to the city’s traffic code banning texting while driving, which went into effect in February of 2010 (Ordinance No. 10-004).

The law bans using “wireless communication devices to view, send or compose an electronic message” while driving. Motorists may have a valid defense if the vehicle was stopped, if they were making a phone call, or if they were texting to obtain emergency assistance.

A violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500.


Grand Prairie, Texas

City Council approved a no-texting-and-driving ordinance on August 20th, 2013, which went into effect on September 1st, 2013.

The ordinance prohibits the use of a wireless device to send, read or write text messages or e-mails while driving (except when parked). Drivers may still make and receive phone calls while driving. GPS navigation is allowed if the device mounted inside the vehicle and in a hands-free mode.

Drivers found violating this ordinance can face a fine of up to $200.


Groesbeck, Texas

Groesbeck City Council voted in January of 2016 to ban texting while driving within city limits.

After the 90-day grace period, police will be ticketing drivers who are seen texting while driving, reading text messages, or using the internet/ social media. Drivers can still dial phone numbers, pick up and end phone calls, and even use GPS (when attached to the vehicle).


Harlingen, Texas

In October of 2011, the Harlingen City Commission voted unanimously to make texting and driving illegal (Ord. No. 11-51). The measure took effect in January of 2012.

The measure prohibits a driver from “reading, writing, or sending a text message, instant message or email while driving within the city limits of Harlingen.”

Violators could get a fine of up to $200.


Helotes, Texas

City Council members voted unanimously on February 10th, 2011 to ban texting while driving (Ord. No. 443).

The new ordinance does not ban voice-activated texting.

Violators face fines of up to $500.


Hereford, Texas

In 2014, Hereford city commissioners voted to approve an ordinance (Ordinance No. 12-15-14) prohibiting the use of wireless communications devises to send, read, or write a text message while driving or operating a motor vehicle inside the city limits.

The penalty for violating this ordinance, if found guilty, will be a misdemeanor conviction and a fine of up to $200.


Jacksonville, Texas

The Jacksonville City Council unanimously voted to place a ban on texting and driving in January of 2016.

While you are not allowed to text and drive, it is still legal to make and receive phone calls while driving. Once you use your phone to type or text in any manner (even opening up an app) an officer can give you a ticket.

Violators could face a fine of between $200 and $500.


Laguna Vista, Texas

In May of 2014, Laguna Vista Town Council passed a city-wide ordinance (2014-14) that banned texting while driving. Full enforcement began in April of 2015.

The ordinance states that “it shall be unlawful for an operator of a motor vehicle to use a wireless communication device to view, read, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any roadway in the Town, including when stopped.” Drivers are still permitted to use mobile phones to make and receive phone calls, or to use GPS navigation.

Any person convicted faces a fine of up to $500 per violation.


Lockhart, Texas

In 2011, the city of Lockhart passed an ordinance (Ordinance No. 2011-02) banning texting while driving within the city limits. The law states that “a person commits an offense if the person uses a hand-held mobile communication device to send, read or write a text message, view images or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other means, engage in gaming, manually engage other application software, or any other use of the device other than dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving vehicle within the city limits. This section shall not apply to public safety personnel in the normal course and scope of performing their duties.”


Magnolia, Texas

In 2011, the city of Magnolia also enacted a no texting while driving ordinance (Ordinance No. O-2011-022).

The ordinance states that a person commits an offense if he/she operates a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device to view, send or compose an electronic message. The ordinance covers all aspects of wireless messaging, including texting, emailing and using social media. Phone calls are still allowed, as is the use of GPS navigation.

Offenses are punishable by fines of up to $200.


Maypearl, Texas

City Council passed an anti-texting-and-driving City Ordinance (1304083) banning the use of wireless devices for any purpose other than making a telephone call while operating a motor vehicle.

The ordinance states that “a person commits an offense if the person uses a wireless communication device to send, read, or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, engage in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle.” Hand-held phone calls are allowed, as is the use of GPS (when affixed to the vehicle).

A citation will be issued to drivers found violating this ordinance, and the fine can reach as high as $200.


McAllen, Texas

City Council unanimously passed a texting while driving ban in January of 2011 (Ordinance 201104).

The ordinance forbids the sending or reading of text messages while driving, browsing the web, or and “viewing or accessing other data that uses commonly recognized communications protocol.” Talking on the phone is still legal, as is the use of GPS.

The maximum fine for most municipal court traffic violations in McAllen is $200.


Meadowlakes, Texas

City Council unanimously voted to pass a measure banning texting-while-driving (Ordinance No. 2012-09) in November of 2012.

The law states that “it shall be unlawful for an operator of a motorized vehicle to use a hand held wireless communications device to view, read, write, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other applications software while operating a motorized vehicle upon any roadway within the City of Meadowlakes, including when stopped.” This ordinance even applies to golf carts. Drivers are still permitted to make and receive hand-held phone calls, and may operate GPS navigation.

Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $200.


Midland, Texas

City Council passed the measure banning texting-while-driving on August 11th, 2015, and the law went into effect in October of 2015.

Drivers in Midland are no longer allowed to use a wireless communication device (cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) to view, send or compose electronic messages or to interact with application software (apps), while operating a motor vehicle on public roadway. Drivers may still talk on the phone and use GPS navigation.

The maximum fine will be $500.


Mission, Texas

City Council unanimously passed an ordinance (Ordinance No. 3642) banning texting while driving in April of 2011.

The ordinance prohibits using a phone (or wireless communication device) to view, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any roadway in the city. Hand-held phones can still be used to make and receive phone calls.

The charge is a Class C Misdemeanor, which carries up to a $500 fine.


Missouri City, Texas

Missouri City passed the no texting while driving law in February of 2010, and began ticketing drivers on June 1st, 2010.

While talking on cell phones is still be legal while driving, sending text messages, e-mails or using any other cell phone applications is not. Even when stopped at a red light or stop sign, you can be ticketed.

The fine for breaking the ordinance could be as high as $500 dollars.


Mount Pleasant, Texas

On September 10th, 2016, the City of Mount Pleasant voted 6-3 in favor of passing an ordinance banning the use of electronic messaging devices while driving. This includes all electronic devices, including cell phones, gaming devices, tablets, laptops, etc.

Motorists driving within the Mt. Pleasant city limits can no longer view, send, or type text messages. Drivers will also not be able to surf the web or use apps while driving. Drivers will still be permitted to call, answer, and talk on the phone. GPS navigation is also permissible, as long as the driver does not type while driving. Officials said that typing anything into a mobile device while driving (besides dialing a phone number) would now be considered illegal. The ordinance does not apply to people using devices while parked, receiving or making phone calls, obtaining emergency assistance or reporting a crime.

The Mount Pleasant Police Department says that they will begin warning drivers who are violating the law, and after several months, will begin issuing citations. Drivers involved in a car accident while violating the ordinance will also receive a citation. Violators face a $50 fine for the first offense, and subsequent fines should not exceed $500. Those involved in an accident while violating this law will face an additional $200 fine.


Mount Vernon, Texas

Mount Vernon has enacted a law banning texting while driving within city limits.

A driver of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device to view, send, or compose an electronic message or engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle.

Drivers may be subject to fines of between $75 and $500.


Nacogdoches, Texas

In October of 2011, Nacogdoches City Council adopted an ordinance (1580-10-11prohibiting the use of electronic messaging devices while driving inside city limits.

The ban includes text messaging, emailing, and the use of other applications that are used for electronic messaging. It is still permissible to talk on the phone and dial or deactivate a call.

Under the new law, violators could be fined up to $500.


Overton, Texas

The City of Overton passed an ordinance (2015-07-16A) In July of 2015 prohibiting the use of any wireless device to view, send or compose electronic messages while operating any motor vehicle or bicycle within city limits. The ordinance became effective on January 1st, 2016.

Violators could be fined up to $500.


Palmview, Texas

Palmview’s commission unanimously voted in May of 2011 to prohibit texting while driving (Ord. No. 2011-05).

The city voted to ban drivers from “viewing, sending and composing messages as well as engaging in other applications such as surfing the Internet or reading email.” As with other cities with similar texting ordinances, drivers may still dial and talk on the phone (and use GPS applications).

Offending drivers face a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $50 to $250 if convicted.


Pampa, Texas

City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning texting while driving. The law went into effect in March of 2013.

In Pampa city limits, driving while using a “wireless communication device” for anything other than talking is illegal.

Violators of the ordinance face a fine of up to $500.


Pecos, Texas

According to at least one news article, Pecos city council approved an ordinance banning texting while driving within city limits in 2014.


Peñitas, Texas

In 2011, City Council passed an ordinance (Ordinance No. 2011-01) banning texting while driving.

The ordinance states that “it shall be unlawful for an operator of a motor vehicle to use a wireless communication device to view, read, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any roadway in the city, including when stopped. Hand-held use of a phone for making and receiving calls (as well as GPS) is still allowed.


Pharr, Texas

Pharr enacted a ban on texting and driving in 2012 with the passage of Ordinance No. O-2012-32. According to the language of the ordinance, “it shall be unlawful for an operator of a motor vehicle to use a wireless communication device to view, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any roadway in the city, including when stopped.” Drivers are still allowed to make hand-held phone calls (including dialing), and are also permitted to operate a GPS navigation device.


Richwood, Texas

City Council passed an ordinance (Ordinance No. 383) aimed at outlawing texting while driving within city limits.

The ordinance states that “it shall be unlawful for a person to use a wireless communication device to view, send, or create an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle upon a roadway within the city.” Hand-held phone calls are allowed, as is the use of an affixed GPS device.

Any person who shall intentionally, knowingly or recklessly violate any provisions of this Ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be fined.


Rowlett, Texas

City Council adopted the no texting while driving ordinance (Ord. No. 016-14) on April 15th, 2014.

The law states that “it shall be unlawful for a person to use a wireless communication device to view, send, or create an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle upon a public street or highway within the city.” Hand-held phone calls are not included in the ordinance, and the use of GPS is permissible.

An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.


San Angelo, Texas

City Council voted 5-1 to enact a no texting while driving ordinance in January of 2016 (see details).

According to the ordinance, it is illegal to compose or read a text message or email while driving—even when stopped at a red light. You are, however, still allowed to use your phone to make and recieve phone calls or use GPS navigation.

A violation is punishable by a fine of up to $500.


Seagoville, Texas

In July of 2014, Seagoville city council voted to approve an ordinance (No. 04-14) outlawing texting and driving within city limits. According to municipal code section 17.03, “it shall be unlawful for an operator of a motor vehicle to use a wireless communication device to view, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle upon any roadway in the city, including when stopped.” Hand-held phone calls are still allowed, as it the use of a global positioning device or navigation system.


Seguin, Texas

In November of 2010, Seguin passed ordinance no. 10-82, banning the practice of texting and driving within city limits. The offense makes it unlawful for an operator of a motor vehicle to use a wireless communication device to view, send or compose an electronic message or manually engage other application software (e.g., built-in GPS, the internet, Facebook) while operating a motor vehicle upon a roadway in the city.

Offenders could face a fine of up to $500.


Selma, Texas

In October of 2010, Selma passed a law (Ordinance No. 101410-1) prohibiting electronic messaging while driving. According to chapter 58 (article 1, section 58-2) of the Selma municipal code, a driver of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device to compose, create, send, or view an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in the city limits of the City of Selma, Texas.

Offenders could face a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $200.


Shoreacres, Texas

In 2010, Shoreacres adopted an ordinance (Ord. No. 2010-72, 6-28-2010) outlawing texting while driving.

The ordinance states that “a driver of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device to view, send, or compose an electronic message or engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle in a driving lane, including when stopped in a driving lane.” Hand-held phone calls are allowed, as is the use of an affixed GPS device.

Violations are considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $500.


Snyder, Texas

Passed an ordinance banning texting while driving (Ord. No. 2010) in December of 2014.

Drivers caught texting, emailing, or doing anything that requires hands-on input will result in a fine. The ordinance does make an exception for people initiating and answering normal phone calls, as well as the use of GPS (although you must be parked to type in an address).


Stephenville, Texas

City Council banned texting while driving (Ord. No. 2010-07) on April 6th, 2010.

Drivers in Stephenville “may not use a wireless communication device to view, send, or compose an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle.” Drivers can, however, make and receive phone calls, use an affixed GPS unit, or text when the vehicle is stopped.

The maximum fine for a violation is $500.


Sunnyvale, Texas

In November 2013, Sunnyvale, Texas passed an ordinance banning text messaging while driving. According to Article 12.1300 of the Sunnyvale municipal code, “a driver of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device to view, send, or compose an electronic message or engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle.”

The ordinance does not apply to stopped vehicles, and drivers are still allowed to use an affixed GPS unit. Upon conviction, violators shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.


Sweetwater, Texas

City officials banned texting while driving within Sweetwater city limits in September of 2015. The measure is outlined in § 19-111 of the city’s Code of Ordinances.

The ordinance states that “It is unlawful and a person commits an offense if the person while using a handheld wireless communication device to send, read, or write a text message and/or email, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, engages in gaming, or any other use of a handheld wireless communication device with the exception of initiating, answering, conducting or terminating a telephone call while operating a motor vehicle within the city limits.”

Violators face a fine of up to $200.


Tomball, Texas

Under an ordinance (No. 2010-25) unanimously approved by city council in late 2010, drivers are banned from texting while driving.

A person commits an offense if the person drives or operates a motor vehicle in the City while using a wireless communication device to view, send or compose an electronic message. Drivers heading through Tomball are still allowed to talk on their smart-phones and operate their (affixed) GPS systems.

Violators can face fines of up to $200.


West University Place, Texas

In late 2009, the City Council became the 2nd Texas city to ban texting and driving, voting unanimously to pass the proposal (Ord. No. 1908).

The ordinance states that “a driver of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device to view, send, or compose an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in a driving lane, including when stopped, (for example, at a stop sign or traffic light).” The law does still allow hand-held phone calls, as well as the use of affixed GPS units.


White Settlement, Texas

On April 14th, 2015, the city of White Settlement passed ordinance no. 2015-2491, banning texting and driving within the city limits. According to the law, drivers cannot use “a hand-held mobile communication device” to send, read, or write text messages, view pictures or written text, play a game on your device, or any other use of the device (besides dialing telephone numbers and talking to another person) while operating a moving motor vehicle.

The ordinance does not apply to drivers on the interstate highway system, including Spur 341, IH 820, IH 30, and related frontage roads.


Windcrest, Texas

Windcrest city council passed ordinance no. 2011-643(O) in June of 2011, banning the practice of texting while driving within the limits of the city. According to Windcrest municipal code section 32-56, “a person commits an offense if the person uses a hand-held mobile communication device to send, read, or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, engage in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle.”

A person convicted of an offense shall be punished by a fine of up to $200. Violations are not considered moving violations, and thus may not be made a part of a person’s driving record or insurance record.



Cities in Texas with hands-free laws.


Alice, Texas

Hands-free ordinance (Ord. No. 1972) enacted in April 2014.

The law bans the hand-held use of electronic communication devices while operating a vehicle, although hands-free devices are allowed. Drivers of government vehicles can use a cell phone “in their official capacity,” and drivers can still use mobile devices for GPS purposes or to make an emergency call.

Offending drivers could face a penalty of up to $200.


Amarillo, Texas

The city adopted a hands-free ordinance in September 2012 which was enacted on January 3rd, 2013.

The law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving (even while stopped in traffic) within the Amarillo city limits. Hands-free devices are allowed. Drivers of government vehicles can use a cell phone when “acting in official capacity with an immediate need to give or receive necessary official information,” and drivers can still use mobile devices for making an emergency call.

Violators could face a fine of up to $200 plus court costs. The offense is not considered a moving violation and may not be made a part of a person’s driving record or insurance record.


Anthony, Texas

In 2015, the city of Anthony, Texas adopted a hands-free ordinance (2015-502) prohibiting the use of a hand-held mobile communication device to engage in a call, send/read/write a text message, or engage in any other use of the device while operating a motor vehicle within the limits of Anthony. Calls using hands-free devices are permitted, as are GPS units affixed to the vehicle.

Drivers can be fined up to $200 for violating this ordinance.


Aransas Pass, Texas

City Council approved the hands-free ordinance (Ord. No. 4058) in December 2013.

Ordinance prohibits the use of any wireless communication device by operators of motor vehicles within the city limits. The use of wireless communication devices that are affixed to the vehicle (and/or used as a global positioning or navigation system) is permissible. The use of a hands-free device is also allowed.

The ordinance does not apply while driving on private property. Drivers of authorized emergency vehicles can use a cell phone while “acting in an official capacity.”

A violation is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.


Argyle, Texas

A hands-free ordnance was adopted in November 2015, and full enforcement begins May 1st, 2016.

The ordinance bans the sue of any hand-held electronic devices while driving (including texting, making calls, viewing websites, GPS, gaming, or even holding the device in your hand). Hands-free devices using Bluetooth and/or headsets will still be permissible.

Offending drivers could face citations up to $200.


Austin, Texas

In addition to Austin’s texting-while-driving ban passed in 2009, a city-wide hands-free ordinance was passed in August 2014 and went into effect on January 1st, 2015.

As defined in ordinance No. 20140828-041 (hands-free ordinance), it is unlawful to use portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle within Austin city limits. Using a hands-free system such as Bluetooth, headphones, or an affixed GPS system is permissible. Unlike most other cities, Austin does permit drivers to use their devices while stopped at a red light.

Violations are classified as a class C misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $500.


Bedford, Texas

On November 18th, 2014, City Council voted unanimously to adopt a hands-free ordinance (Ord. No. 14-3109) that makes it a Class C misdemeanor to use handheld devices to read, write or send text messages or emails (or access the internet) while operating a vehicle. Affixed GPS devices and hands-free devices are still allowed.

Violating the ordinance carries a $200 fine.


Bee Cave, Texas

Passed in April of 2015, Bee Cave began enforcing their hands-free ordinance (Ordinance No. 241) on July 1st, 2015.

The ordinance prohibits the use of hand-held mobile communication devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle within city limits. The ordinance does not apply to drivers and cyclists using hands-free technology (such as Bluetooth) and/or mounted devices.

If convicted, offenders shall be fined no more than $100 for a first offense. Additional convictions carry fines of up to $500.


Boerne, Texas

Beginning January 1st 2016, the city of Boerne began enforcing a strict hands-free ordinance. Basically, an operator of a motor vehicle may not use a portable electronic device while the vehicle is in motion (or even stopped in the roadway). This includes phones, tablets, gaming devices, and even GPS units.

While not considered a moving a violation, a person convicted of this offense could receive a fine of $200.


Buda, Texas

Buda voted 6-0 in favor of a hands-free ordinance (Ord. No. 2015-08) in July of 2015, and began fully enforcing the new law in September of 2015.

The ordinance prohibits the use of hand-held mobile communication devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle within city limits. The ordinance does not apply to drivers and cyclists using hands-free technology (such as Bluetooth), the use of affixed GPS units, or to drivers in stopped vehicles.

A Class C misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by a fine of $500 or less.


College Station, Texas

On August 11th, 2016, the College Station City Council voted 6-1 in favor of banning the use of nearly all hand-held cellphones and other wireless communication devices while driving within city limits. Police began enforcing this new ordinance on November 9th, 2016.

Hands-free devices will be permitted under the new rules (which also apply to cyclists), and drivers are still permitted to use affixed GPS units. Drivers are also permitted to use hand-held communication devices while at a complete stop.

Fines for violating this ordinance will range from $25 to $200.


Corpus Christi, Texas

hands-free city ordinance (Ord. No. 53-16) went into effect in October of 2015.

The law states that “an operator of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within the city limits.” This does not apply to hands-free devices or affixed GPS devices, nor does it apply while the vehicle is parked (not simply stopped), while on private property.

Punishable by a fine of up to $500.


Deer Park, Texas

City Council unanimously approved a hands-free ordinance in July of 2015 which prevents the use of cell phones and other wireless devices while driving within city limits.

Hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth, are still allowed. The ordinance doesn’t apply to drivers who are legally parked, or on school property.

Violators are subject to a Class C misdemeanor, and a fine of up to $200.


Denton, Texas

On December 6th, 2016, Denton City Council voted 6-1 in favor of approving a hands-free ordinance, which states that “an operator of a vehicle may not use a wireless communication device for any purpose while operating a vehicle on any street or highway within the city of Denton.”

The ordinance—which goes into effect on June 1st, 2017—does have a few caveats. Hands-free use is still allowed, as is hands-on use of a GPS device. Drivers may still use their cell phones to obtain emergency services, to report an emergency, or to prevent a crime about to be committed. Drivers who are stopped and off of the roadway can use their phones, but not when stopped in traffic or at a red light.

Those ticketed for violating this ordinance will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, with a fine not to exceed $200.


El Paso, Texas

El Paso passed a hands-free city ordinance (017286) prohibiting the use of cellular phones while operating a vehicle. The ban took effect April 1st, 2010, and enforcement began in May of 2010.

Drivers may not use a hand-held wireless communication device unless stopped and off of the roadway. Drivers are allowed to make and receive calls if the device is integrated with (or attached to) the vehicle, and all wireless devices must be used solely in “voice-activated” or “hands-free” mode while driving.

Fines for operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone in El Paso are $116 per offense.


Floresville, Texas

As of November 2015, Floresville has adopted an ordinance that bans the use of hand-held mobile communication devices while operating a moving motor vehicle. Similar to ordinances in other cities, the law allows for an “affirmative defense” for talking on a cell phone during emergency situations.

Violators can be fined up to $200.


Garden Ridge, Texas

In September 2015, Garden Ridge city council passed an ordinance (Ordinance No. 184-092015) banning the hand-held use of a phone while driving. According to the language of the ordinance, “a person commits an offense if the person uses a hand-held mobile communication device to (1) engage in a call, (2) send, read, or write a text message, (3) view pictures or written text whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, (4) engage in gaming, or (5) engage in any other use of the device while operating a motor vehicle.” Hands-free phone calls are still permissable, as is the use of an affixed GPS navagation unit.

A voilation is a class C misdemeanor (not a moving violation) with fines not to exceed $200.


Hill Country Village, Texas

Hill Country Village has enacted a hands-free ordinance within city limits. According to the Hill Country Village municipal code (section 70-1), it is now illegal to use a hand-held communication device to engage in a call; send, read or write a text message; view pictures or written text whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means; engage in gaming; or engage in any other use of the device while operating a moving motor vehicle (except activating or deactivating the device).

There are a few affirmative defenses to this law, such as using a hands-free device, operating an affixed GPS unit, reporting illegal activity to the police, communicating with first responders, or when attempting to prevent injury to a person or property.

A person convicted of an offense under this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200.


Hurst, Texas

The city of Hurst passed a hands-free ordinance (ordinance 2321) in July of 2016, which outlaws the handheld use of electronic devices while driving. Enforcement will begin in late October of 2016.

Drivers are still permitted to make calls and use GPS, but only in hands-free mode.

Those ticketed for violating this ordinance will face a fine of up to $500.


Kingsville, Texas

In 2014, Kingsville city council enacted an ordinance banning the use of hand-held communication devices while driving. Section 7-9-2 of the Kingsville municipal code states that “an operator of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within the city limits.” The law does not apply to those using hands-free devices, to fixed GPS units, or when making a valid emergency call.

A violation of this ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor.


Kyle, Texas

On September 1st, 2015, the Kyle City Council unanimously passed (7-0) a hands-free ordinance within the city of Kyle, and began issuing tickets in November of 2015.

The ordinance prohibits the use of hand-held mobile communication devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle within city limits. The ordinance does not apply to drivers on private property, drivers who are legally parked, or to emergency officials or law enforcement officers. The use of hands-free technology (such as Bluetooth) is allowed, the use of affixed GPS units, or to drivers in stopped vehicles.

The fine for a 1st offense is between $100 and $500. A second offense could cost you between $200 and $500. A third offense will result in a $500 fine.


Lake Dallas, Texas

On February 23rd, 2016, Lake Dallas City Council approved an ordinance banning the use of hand-held communication devices while driving within city limits.

According to the ordinance, it’s now unlawful for a person to use a wireless communication device (e.g. mobile phone) to engage in a call or to view/send/create an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle on a public street or highway within the city. A driver holding a wireless communication device to or in proximity of one’s ear while driving is presumed to be engaging in a call, which is banned. Those using hands-free communication options (speaker phone, Bluetooth) will not be cited.

A violation could result in a fine of no more than $500.


Lakeway, Texas

City Council approved a hands-free ordinance on April 20th, 2015.

The ordinance prohibits drivers and bicyclists from using handheld wireless devices unless parked (not just stopped). The use of hands-free devices is permitted.

First offenses shall not exceed $100, and additional convictions carry fines of up to $500.


Lake Tanglewood, Texas

According to section 12.02.002 of the Lake Tanglewood municipal code, the use of a wireless communication device for any purpose other than oral communication (and by any person other than the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle or public utility service vehicle) while driving within the limits of the village is prohibited unless the vehicle is stopped. This ordinance applies to all vehicles, including golf carts.


Laredo, Texas

Laredo City Council passed a hands-free ordinance (Ordinance No. 2015-O-135) in November of 2015. Enforcement began in February of 2016.

The ordinance states that it’s illegal for motorists to operate a motor vehicle while using a hand-held wireless communication device for engaging in a call, texting, sending or receiving texts, taking or viewing pictures, gaming or any other purposes.

Offenses are punishable by fines of up to $200.


Liberty Hill, Texas

On February 23rd, 2015, Liberty Hill passed a law (Ordinance No. 15-O-05) banning hand-held phone use while driving. The law states that a driver of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device (including GPS) in any fashion while the motor vehicle is in motion. Drivers are still permitted to use hands-free devices.

The ordinance also prohibits bus drivers with minor passengers from using a mobile communication device unless the vehicle is stopped (federal law only prohibits bus drivers from texting and driving).

A violation under this section is a misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of not more than $200.


Little Elm, Texas

In January of 2016, the Little Elm Town Council voted 6-0 to ban the use of hand-held wireless devices while driving. Enforcement is set to begin March 1st, 2016.

It is now illegal for drivers to call, read or write text messages, take pictures, use apps, play games, or visit websites (or even just hold the device) while driving. Drivers may still use hands-free wireless devices for phone calls and GPS navigation.

First-time violators can be ticketed and fined $250. A third violation could cost you up to $500.


Midlothian, Texas

As of May 2016, hand-held cell phone use while driving is illegal in Midlothian after the passage of Ordinance 2016-12. The new law prohibits the use of a hand-held wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle to engage in a call, send, read or write a text message, take or view pictures or written text, access or view an internet website or software application, play a game, or any other use of the device while operating a motor vehicle, including simply holding the device.

Each offense, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.


New Braunfels, Texas

In August of 2015, City Council voted 4-3 to approve one of the toughest hands-free laws (Ordinance 2015-41) in the state, banning the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.

The new law bans the use of texting, e-mail, and talking on a hand held phone while driving. It also bans the use of electronic devices such as e-book readers, iPods & MP3 music players, and cameras while a person is driving on a public road. The law does not apply on private property, or to affixed GPS devices. Hands-free phone calls are still allowed.

Fines start at $100 and can go as high as $500 for a 3rd violation.


Port Aransas, Texas

On January 21st, 2016, the Port Aransas City Council voted to enact a hands-free ordinance which banned all use of handheld “electronic communication devices” while driving.

Violations could result in a class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.


San Antonio, Texas

A hands-free ordinance (2010-10-07-0853) was passed unanimously in November 2014 and enacted in February of 2015.

Ordinance prohibits any use of hand-held devices on the road, requiring motorists to use Bluetooth, car speakers or other hands-free methods to talk on the phone. Drivers may still use hands to activate or deactivate a call, but cannot hold the phone while talking (even if on speaker phone).

The city ordinance does not apply to the incorporated suburbs (Alamo Heights, Shavano Park, etc).

Maximum fine is $200.


San Juan, Texas

On December 10th, 2015, the city of San Juan banned the use of portable electronic devices while driving (Ordinance No. 15-24). According to the law, an operator of a motor vehicle may not use a portable electronic device while the vehicle is in motion. This ordinance applies to motorized vehicles AND nonmotorized vehicles (e.g., bicycles). Hands-free devices are allowed, as is the use of an affixed GPS unit.

A person convicted of violating this ordinance shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $200 per violation.


San Marcos, Texas

The San Marcos City Council voted in November of 2015 to adopt a hands-free ordinance which went into effect on February 1st, 2016.

The ordinance prohibits drivers from using or even holding a handheld wireless device (cell phone) while driving. Drivers will still be able to use Bluetooth, earphones, or other hands-free methods to answer calls, and can still use an affixed GPS unit. Unlike many other cities, San Marcos’ hands-free law only applies to cars in motion. This means that it is still permissible for a driver to use their phone while stopped at a red light.

Drivers could be fined up to $100 for the first offense, $250 for a second offense, and up to $500 for a third.


Schertz, Texas

City Council voted 3-2 to adopt hands-free ordinance (Ord. 15-D-16) in June of 2015.

The ordinance prohibits drivers from using handheld wireless devices to make calls, text, view or take photos, or play games while driving. Drivers will be able to use mobile phones to make hands-free calls or for GPS navigation (if the device is affixed to the vehicle).

Drivers could be fined $200 for each offense.


Sinton, Texas

Sinton City Council members voted in 2014 to enact a hands-free ordinance (Ord. No. 2014-02) in the city.

The ordinance states that “an operator of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within the city limits.” Hands-free devices are permissible for making and receiving phone calls, as is the use of affixed GPS units.

Maximum fine per violation is $500.


Socorro, Texas

Socorro city council passed ordinance no. 343 in August of 2014, which effectively banned hand-held phone use while driving within city limits. According to section 42.201 of the municipal code, an operator of a motor vehicle may not use a hand-held wireless communication device while the vehicle is in motion. Hands-free devices are permitted, as is the use of an affixed GPS unit.

A person who violates this ordinance commits an offense punishable by a fine of $80 (which is much lower than in other cities).


Sunset Valley, Texas

Sunset Valley city council passed ordinance no. 160621 on June 27th, 2016, effectively making hand-held phone use while driving illegal. According to Chapter 99 of the Sunset Valley municipal code, a person commits an offense if, while operating a vehicle on a public roadway, the person uses a hand-held mobile communication device to either engage in a call; send, read, or write a text message; view pictures or written text whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means; engage in gaming; or engage in any other use of the device.

As with most hands-free ordinances, drivers are permitted to make and receive calls via a hands-free device such as a headset or Bluetooth. A person convicted of an offense under this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.


Universal City, Texas

Universal City has enacted a hands-free in its 6.2-square-mile jurisdiction, and began enforcing the new law (Ord. No. 603) in October of 2010.

An operator of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle in the city limits of Universal City, Texas. The ban applies to portable (non-affixed) GPS units as well. The ordinance does make an exception for use of “hands-free” devices.

A violation is a Class C misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $200.


Watauga, Texas

On November 6th, 2015, Watauga city council passed a hands-free ordinance (Ordinance No. 1611), prohibiting the hand-held use of phones and other wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle.

An operator of a motor vehicle may not touch a wireless communication device (phone, tablet, gaming system, etc.) while operating a motor vehicle in the city limits of Watauga, unless the vehicle is at a complete stop. The ordinance does make an exception for use of “hands-free” devices such as bluetooth, but only if it remains hands free.


West Lake Hills, Texas

On March 26th, 2016, West Lake Hills City Council unanimously passed an ordinance outlawing the use of handheld electronic devices while driving—even when stopped at a red light. Drivers are only permitted to use their phones or other electronic devices in conjunction with a hands-free device such as bluetooth.

The law goes into effect on April 6th, 2016, and police will begin ticketing on June 1st.

Fines for breaking the ordinance can reach $250.


Wimberley, Texas

In March of 2015, Wimberley City Council passed a hands-free ordinance (Ord. No. 2015-006) prohibiting the use of portable electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Police began enforcement in June of 2015.

Drivers may not use or touch a handheld wireless communication device (phone, tablet, computer, gaming device, etc) while operating a vehicle (including bicycles) on city streets and/or highways. Drivers are allowed to make and receive calls if the device fully hands-free, or if the vehicle is at a complete stop. Drivers may also use GPS, but only if the device is affixed to the vehicle.



Did we miss any other Texas cities with distracted driving laws? Did your town recently pass a similar law? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

  1. March 1, 2016

    Watauga has enacted a hands-free only policy within the city. Effective March 6, 2016.

    • March 1, 2016

      Thanks, Jimmie! List updated!

  2. September 15, 2016

    I can almost see ban on Texting while driving because common sense is no so common anymore just look who our president is and the socialist on the DemocRats has chosen to lead their party.

    However, a cell phone man is just crazy, and I’m looking for it to be challenge in court as a 1st and possible a 5th amendment violation.

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