Ticket School > Blog > Online Driving Courses > When Can You Use Your Phone While Diriving In Texas?
two teens driving car with texting and looking at cel phones while in motion

If you live or are planning a trip to Texas, it is worth your time to review the current Texas cell phone law and Texas texting and driving law before getting behind the wheel. Many of these laws have been updated within the past few years, and there are proposals for even stricter laws in the future. In addition, several cities, towns, and municipalities already have very strict laws that supersede state laws.

In general, it is against the law to use a mobile device non-hands-free while operating a motor vehicle in Texas. This means you cannot talk, text, read and send emails, check your Facebook status, or do other things on your smartphone or tablet while driving. There are a few exceptions to the laws that we will cover shortly.

While you can still talk on your phone non-hands-free while driving, there are many cities and other places in Texas where this has been made illegal. It is better to avoid talking on the phone unless it is hands-free. Most modern vehicles include features that allow you to sync your phone with your car’s infotainment system for hands-free talking, texting, and GPS navigation, as well as listening to your music.


Exceptions and Restrictions to Current Talking and Texting While Driving Laws

The current talking and texting while driving laws in Texas do have several exceptions and other restrictions you also need to know:

  • If you are stopped in a parking lot or at a red light, it not a violation of current laws to use your phone. However, if you do not put the phone down and start driving, you can be ticketed.
  • If your vehicle does not have an infotainment center or GPS navigation, you can still use your smartphone to listen to music or for GPS directions, although it is a good idea to use a mounting device to attach the phone to your dash so you are not looking down and taking your eyes off the road.
  • Using your smartphone to call 911 for an emergency non-hands-free call is not a violation of current laws.
  • No drivers under the age of 18 can use mobile devices for any reason while driving, including hands-free usage.
  • Any driver aged 18 or older who currently has a learner’s permit cannot use a mobile device while driving for the first six months.
  • Mobile device usage is not allowed except to report an emergency in school zones.
  • Bus drivers cannot use mobile devices while operating a bus, except for emergencies.


How to Find Out More About the Current Talking and Texting While Driving Laws

Male cop in uniform check female driver on road

One of the easiest ways to find out what current traffic laws are is by completing our Texas approved defensive driving course online. The material covered in our course reflects the current laws, so you get a complete refresher of all laws, not just talking and texting while driving laws.

Aside from finding out what the current traffic laws are, you may also be eligible to receive an auto insurance discount for completing our online course. You could receive as much as a 10% discount off your insurance rates for the next three years. Just check with your insurance company for discount details.

If you recently receive a ticket for texting and driving or talking non-hands-free on your smartphone, completing our Texas defensive driving course online may qualify you for ticket dismissal.

For further details about our online defensive driving course or to register, please feel free to browse our website and select Texas for the state. All of our courses are mobile device friendly and can be completed at your own pace. Do not hesitate to call Ticket School at (800) 558-9887 if you have further questions or need help deciding which online driver safety course you should complete.