Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law state legislation that makes texting while driving illegal. The law takes effect Sept. 1.
Texas becomes the 47th state to pass such a law. Safety advocates and some legislators in Texas have pushed for such a texting ban for a decade.
A first-time offense carries a fine of up to $99. Repeat violators can be fined $200.
Drivers will be prohibited from reading, writing or sending electronic messages while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. It will still be legal, however, to use a mobile phone to control a vehicle’s sound system and to access a navigation app.
The law's passage drew praise from several prominent organizations, including the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National Safety Council.
"GHSA commends Texas for banning this pervasive source of driver distraction," the association said in a released statement. "The Association is thankful for the perseverance of victim advocate organizations such as StopDistractions.org, who have worked for years to advance this through the state legislature."
"Today, after years of debating bills, Texas sent a clear message to residents that it will do what it takes to save lives," the National Safety Council said in its own released statement. "The National Safety Council encourages the three remaining states without texting bans for all drivers — Arizona, Missouri and Montana — to pass legislation immediately."
To read the new Texas law, click here.
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