What you need to know about the state's ban on texting and driving

The new law, which takes effect Sept. 1 said drivers will not be allowed to read, write, or send electronic messages while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.

SAN ANTONIO - Texting and driving will soon be against the law in Texas.

The new law, which takes effect Sept. 1 said drivers will not be allowed to read, write, or send electronic messages while operating a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped.

The law stops short of a full ban on smartphones behind the wheel.

Drivers will still be able to use smartphones for GPS or other navigation systems.

However, the driver of a car Stacey Riddle's two daughters were riding in was using GPS on a phone when she crashed into a big rig last year.

Brianna and Jade died as a result.

"This hurts so much because it was something that could have been avoided had the driver only paid attention to driving," said Riddle.

More than 450 people died last year in Texas due to distracted driving.

San Antonio currently has a stricter "hands-free" ordinance, which prohibits drivers from touching their phones behind the wheel.

"I think it's a necessary law, but I don't know that it's deterring people from using their devices," said San Antonio Police Department Sgt. Jesse Salame.

Police said drivers are still using their phones.

"I just think people believe that something bad will never happen to them," said Salame.

"My two daughters, I will never see them again. I will never see them get married, I will never see them have children," said Riddle.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott truly wants this to be the law of the land, so much so that he is directing legislators to take up this issue again when the special session starts next month.

However, Abbott wants to make sure that cities and counties don't create any more regulations on cell phone usage in the car.

Texting would be punishable by a fine of up to $99 for first-time offenders and $200 for repeat offenses.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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