AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he has signed a bill into law that bans texting while driving, ending a decade-long effort by safety advocates to reduce potentially deadly driver distractions on the road.
“This new law will make Texas drivers safer by prohibiting the dangerous and often deadly practice of texting while driving, and it will ensure that there is one uniform law throughout the state,” said AAA Texas Vice President of Government & Community Affairs Linda von Quintus. “
Texas will join at least 47 other states that have similar laws when the ban takes effect Sept. 1.
Texting would be punishable by a fine of as much as $99 for first-time offenders and $200 for repeat offenses.
The ban covers texting only, and not other Internet use such as map applications.
The ban comes after a church bus crash in March killed 13 people.
Federal investigators said the driver of a pickup truck that hit the bus said he was checking for a text when the crash happened and had taken prescription drugs.