MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - In 2017, Texas passed a statewide ban on texting and driving, but many Texans are not aware of exceptions to that law.
“Motorists are prohibited from reading, writing or sending electronic messages while they’re driving," said Cpl. Steve Lesueur with the Odessa Police Department. "Although it’s not recommended, motorists are allowed to use their phones while they’re completely stopped. For example, waiting at a red light.”
Other acceptable uses for a phone while behind the wheel: music applications and GPS navigation.
Talking on the phone is also legal for drivers 17+, except for when traveling through active school zones.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 1-in-5 crashes involve driver distraction. In 2018, the Odessa Police Department responded to a total of nearly 4,000 crashes, 1,400 of which involved distracted driving or texting while driving.
Texting while driving can result in a $200 fine.
“Our goal isn’t to issue as many texting and driving citations as we can,” said Lesueur. "Our goal is to save lives. You know, save people from dying or from being seriously hurt.”