ASK A COP — What are the fines for texting while driving in Texas?

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Karla asks: I have a niece who is addicted to her cellphone. She often sleeps with her cell phone in her hand, and she’s admitted to texting while driving. I must admit it upsets me because I am constantly finding drivers like my niece texting while driving on the roads, which I believe is a very irresponsible and dangerous act to partake in while behind the wheel of any motor vehicle. I’m aware that in Texas, it’s now illegal to text while driving. What exactly is the fine for texting while driving? Can someone be arrested for texting while driving?

Answer: You are so correct to state the danger involved with texting while driving on the roads of Texas, or any road in this matter. Texting while driving is the most dangerous act to partake in while driving, other than sleeping while driving. If that didn’t shake you, the fine involving texting while driving is between $25 to $99, although penalties could be as much as $200 for being convicted prior for texting while driving. It gets even steeper if you cause injury or death because of texting while driving. The fine can range up to $4,000 and up to a year jail. Is that’s not enough to get all of us to put the phone down. Numbers don’t lie. It’s been reported in Texas in 2022 that 486 people were killed and 2,824 persons injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Texting while driving is illegal and deadly. Stay alive, don’t text and drive. The dangerous part also goes for checking social media accounts, looking at pictures and opening different apps that would cause a distraction while driving with a cellphone in your hand.

Dole asks: I really don’t have a problem with being caught by a police officer for breaking a law while driving. But why do police officers have to hide in order to catch someone? Why can’t officers just be in plain sight to catch someone instead of hiding? I’ve even seen officers on the side of the road at night with their vehicle lights off in attempt to catch speeders, I assume. Is there a course that officers must take in the academy that specializes in hiding to stop violators?

Answer: To be transparent, there are times where police officers don’t need their presence to be publicly known so they can observe violations, as many citizens report them. When we receive a complaint about speeders in neighborhoods or a certain street, the violation occurred without police presence. If you put a marked police unit with a police officer inside, the violations would stop. In order to observe the violators in their normal driving behavior, we like to not be readily visible. There are many instances where officers need to be undercover in order to suppress crimes. I guess that’s a form of hiding, too. Police officers are allowed to have darker tint than other vehicles on the road. That’s a form of hiding, as well. I guess we should have a class specializing in this in the academy, but I’ll assure you at this point we do not (LOL). Hiding in law enforcement is vital, whether it’s for officer safety reasons or to observe violations. Consider this, if you’re not committing a crime, a police officer “hiding” should not be a problem to you. They are looking for someone breaking the law.

Lonnie asks: I am now aware we can carry concealed firearms in our vehicles in Texas from an answer you previously provided in your article. Can the weapon have a round or a bullet in the chamber?

Answer: The definition of stupid is the showing of a great lack of intelligence or commonsense. I don’t think there’s anything stupid about you asking a question about whether a firearm that’s concealed in your vehicle can have a bullet in the chamber. The state of Texas allows motorists who are not (1) extra felons, (2) have a weapon in plain sight, (3) a member of an organized gang or (4) not committing a crime higher than class C, to carry weapons in the car. Now to answer your question, yes, the weapon can be loaded with a round or bullet in the chamber. I don’t think I know a criminal who will allow you to have a moment to get your weapon ready to defend yourself. I totally understand the safety aspect but, in my opinion, there is no sense in carrying a weapon for your defense unless it’s ready to defend you in a moment’s notice. 

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the crew of Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I. Washington and Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM, The Breeze radio station every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. Tune in via the Internet at Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to, call 409-983-8673 for voice mail or mail them to 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”