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San Antonio's Amended Handheld Cell Phone Ordinance Takes Effect

Although distracted driving is a leading cause of preventable injury and death on American roadways, Texas remains one of the few U.S. states without a statewide distracted driving ban for all motorists. Instead, Texas enforces a number of distracted driving laws that affect a small group of drivers. These include:

  • Cell phone ban and texting ban for bus drivers
  • Cell phone ban and texting ban for novice drivers
  • Handheld phone ban and texting ban in school zones

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 44 states ban text messaging for all drivers and 14 states ban the use of handheld cell phones. These laws have helped in reducing the number of distraction-affected traffic crashes. Because Texas lacks similar legislation, many cities across the state have taken it into their own hands to pass distracted driving ordinances.

In November of last year, San Antonio joined Austin in outlawing handheld cell phones for phone calls and other uses while behind the wheel. San Antonio's amended ordinance officially took effect on January 1 st. Under the ban, all motorists within San Antonio will be:

  • Prohibited from using a handheld phone to make calls, text, email, access the internet, or otherwise use the device.
  • Prohibited from using a handheld phone when stopping in traffic or at red lights / stop signs.
  • Allowed to use hands-free accessories, such as Bluetooth.

Drivers who violate the ban will face a $200 fine, although law enforcement will give a 30-day grace period before fining drivers. The ordinance also stipulates that ordinance violations will not be reflected on a motorist's driving or insurance records.

At Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C., we believe the new amended ordinance will help improve safety on San Antonio roadways. Distracted driving is considered a national epidemic, and drivers who cause accidents and injuries while using cellphones or other devices can be held accountable for the damages they cause.

If you have questions about your rights after an auto accident, our personal injury lawyers are available to provide a free initial consultation. Contact our firm today to discuss your case!