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Cell phones and Driving
On December 6th, 2016, Denton City Council voted 6-1 in favor of approving a hands-free ordinance (No. 2016-394), 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.

AUSTIN – Effective Sept. 1, 2017 texting while driving will be illegal across the state of Texasas the result of a new texting-while-driving ban passed during the 85th Texas Legislative Session (HB62). The law prohibits motorists from reading, writing or sending electronic messages while driving.

Those under 18 years of age, Texas law already bans all cell phone use while driving, including hands-free, except in the case of emergencies. Additionally, drivers are currently banned from texting and using hand-held cellular devices while driving in school zones. School bus operators also are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present.

The law also states that if a car accident caused by texting and driving results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, the offender can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year (in addition to any other charges/punishments).

House Bill 62 passed June 2017, the Alex Brown Memorial Act, amends the Transportation Code to create a misdemeanor offense for the operator of a motor vehicle who uses a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating the vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped. The bill provides a penalty enhancement if the offense causes another person's death or serious bodily injury and establishes affirmative defenses to prosecution for the offense. The bill limits the authority of a peace officer to take possession of or inspect a wireless communication device on grounds of a suspected violation, establishes certain signage requirements, and revises the penalty for the operation of a motor vehicle by a person under 18 years of age while using a wireless communication device.

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