Subject: Criminal Offense of Using a Wireless Communication Device While Operating a Motor Vehicle; Alex Brown Memorial Act
Effective: September 1, 2017
Distracted driving continues to be a significant factor in property damage, injury, and death on this state's roads and highways. Prior to passing this bill, Texas was one of just four states with no statute that addressed distracted driving on a statewide level. H.B. 62, the Alex Brown Memorial Act, prohibits the use of a wireless communication device for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.
The bill adds Section 545.4251 of the Transportation Code (Section 8), under which an operator commits an offense if the operator uses a portable wireless communication device (defined by the statute) to read, write, or send an electronic message ( also defined) while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. To be prosecuted, the behavior must be committed in the presence of or within the view of a peace officer or established by other evidence.