Texting while driving to be illegal in Texas starting Sept. 1

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HOUSTON — OK, Texas drivers! It's time to tex your friend "g2g" and keep your eyes on the road.

Starting on Sept. 1, texting while driving will be illegal in the Lone Star State.

Capt. Kenneth Campbell with the Houston Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Division said the goal is to reduce distracted driving and make the roadways safer.

"We just want people to focus on driving from point A to point B and do it in the safest manner possible," Campbell said.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the texting ban into law in June. Drivers will still be allowed to use their phones for GPS and music.

However, enforcement remains up to the discretion of the officer.

"If we pull up alongside you and we can obviously see your phone and that you're texting, that's one way," Campbell said. "We'll also have some other measures in place and we'll be able to have a good vantage point at seeing people using their phones while we're also driving on the freeways ourselves."

Distracted driving is nothing new; most of us are guilty of it from time to time.

"I believe I'm good at it," Max Stevenson said. "I guess, that's probably why everyone else does it, too. But, I know I shouldn't be texting and driving."

"You'll see everything from eating, makeup but texting is really the worst. You can tell because people aren't driving with the flow of traffic, they're driving erratically," Gail Rogers said.

According to TxDOT, distracted driving is to blame for 455 deaths and 109,624 crashes statewide in 2016.

HPD said anyone caught texting while driving will be issued a class C misdemeanor citation.

First time offenders will receive anywhere from a $25 to $99 fine. Secondary offenders with a previous conviction could face an up to $200 fine.

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