One in five crashes involves driver distraction. Drivers who use cell phones in their vehicles have a higher risk of collision than drivers who don't, whether holding the phone or using a hands-free device.

In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed a statewide ban on using a wireless communications device  for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Texting, as well as reading or writing email, is prohibited while driving in Texas. 

Many local areas have passed stricter ordinances which completely limit any cell phone use while driving, so it is the responsibility of drivers to learn the laws in their local areas. 

The safest policy is to drive now and use your cell phone later. If you must make a phone call or send a text, pull over. Otherwise, wait until you reach your destination to use the phone.

Cell Phone Prohibitions

  • Drivers cannot send or receive electronic messages in Texas.
  • Drivers with learner's permits are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using wireless communications devices.
  • School bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present.
  • In school zones, all drivers are prohibited from texting and using handheld devices while driving.
  • Local restrictions: Since 2009, more than 90 cities have adopted one or more of the three types of cell phone ordinances listed below. These cities include:
  • Alamo
  • Alice
  • Amarillo
  • Angleton
  • Anthony
  • Aransas Pass
  • Argyle
  • Arlington
  • Austin
  • Balcones Heights
  • Bedford
  • Bee Cave
  • Bellaire
  • Big Lake
  • Boerne
  • Brazoria
  • Brownsville
  • Buda
  • Canyon
  • Carrizo Springs
  • Castle Hills
  • College Station
  • Conroe
  • Converse
  • Corpus Christi
  • Deer Park
  • Denton
  • Edinburg
  • El Paso
  • Farmers Branch
  • Floresville
  • Fredericksburg
  • Galveston
  • Garden Ridge
  • Grand Prairie
  • Groesbeck
  • Harlingen
  • Helotes
  • Hereford
  • Hill Country Village
  • Hurst
  • Jacksonville
  • Kingsville
  • Kyle
  • Laguna Vista
  • Lake Dallas
  • Lake Tanglewood
  • Lakeway
  • La Porte
  • Laredo
  • Liberty Hill
  • Little Elm
  • Lockhart
  • Magnolia
  • Maypearl
  • McAllen
  • Meadowlakes
  • Midland
  • Midlothian
  • Mission
  • Missouri City
  • Mount Belvieu
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Mount Vernon
  • Nacogdoches
  • New Braunfels
  • Overton
  • Palmview
  • Pampa
  • Pecos
  • Penitas
  • Pharr
  • Port Aransas
  • Richwood
  • Rowlett
  • San Angelo
  • San Antonio
  • San Benito
  • San Juan
  • San Marcos
  • Schertz
  • Seagoville
  • Seguin
  • Selma
  • Shoreacres
  • Sinton
  • Snyder
  • Socorro
  • Stephenville
  • Sunnyvale
  • Sunset Valley
  • Sweetwater
  • Tomball
  • Universal City
  • Watauga
  • Westlake Hills
  • West University Place
  • White Settlement
  • Wimberly
  • Windcrest

Note: Since cell phone ordinances may be adopted by cities at any time, the list above may not be comprehensive. Cities that adopt cell phone ordinances may contact the TxDOT Traffic Operations Division and request to be added to the list.

Divisions