Midland Enacts Ordinance Outlawing Texting and Driving

Midland Enacts Ordinance Outlawing Texting and Driving

A new texting ban goes into effect this week in Midland.

City officials and AT&T teamed up to spread the word about the new ordinance.

On October 1st, Midland will become the 41st city in Texas to ban texting and driving.

"You cannot punch on your phone words, texting. You should not do selfies, you should not do social media, it's not included in the ordinance, you'll get pulled over if you're caught texting," Midland Mayor Jerry Morales told NewsWest 9.

While the ordinance only outlaws texting, other activities like taking photos, talking on the phone or using GPS probably won't be worth it.

"If you continue to type into that phone and the officer feels like you might be texting, you will be pulled over. You might be playing with your GPS, but if it's the gamble, if it's the chance that you want to take, while playing with your phone, then the officer has the right, he will pull you over. If he talks you out of it, then you move on, if he believes you were texting, but you weren't, then we'll go to court and we'll spend the day in court," said Morales.

Citations for texting and driving can be up to $500, but for some people, the temptations of a buzzing phone are just too strong. That's why AT&T is joining forces with Midland and offering a free app to make the roads safer.

"We also encourage everyone to download the 'Drive Mode' app. Once set up, the app automatically sends a customizable reply to incoming text messages when the recipient is driving. The auto-reply is similar to an out-of-office alert, letting your friends know  that you are driving and cannot respond," said Irma Bocanegra, Regional Director of External Affairs at AT&T.

Though the ordinance goes into effect on October 1st, Midland Police don't plan on issuing citations for the first 30 days. They want to give everyone a chance to hear about the new law and have the opportunity to change their habits.