Texas' new texting and driving ban to go into effect September 1

Texas' new texting and driving ban will go into effect on September 1. 

Governor Greg Abbott signed it into law on Tuesday. The ban prohibits using a phone to "read, write or send an electronic message" while driving. Tickets for violating the law will cost $99 for first-time offenders and $200 for repeat offenders. The policy does allow drivers to use GPS and music apps while driving.

Texas drivers are split on whether the ban will have much of an effect.

"They're going to text anyway," local driver Matthew Burton said. "I don't think the ban will do a lot to make people safer." 

"I think nothing but good can come of it," local driver Meagan Seay said. "There's no reason why we should be distracted from the road."

Cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have had similar bans in place for several years. Sergeant Eric Hanson, who is head of the Grand Prarie Police traffic unit, says his officers have written more than 2,800 tickets since the city's ban went into effect in 2013. 

Denton's ban, which went into effect last week. is more restrictive than the state policy. It outlaws drivers even having a phone in their hand while driving.

Abbott said he wants to expand on the law he just signed. He is calling for legislation preempting current city laws regarding texting and driving, so that one blanket law would be in effect statewide.

Abbott hopes that this issue will be addressed in the upcoming special session.

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