Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texting while driving is now illegal in Texas; SXSW announces slew of speakers for 2018; meet Texas women who compete in bearding; and more.
The law, which Abbott signed in July, replaces inconsistent restrictions among cities and towns with a standard that applies everywhere. Supporters hope the new law will make the roads safer. One in five crashes involves driver distraction, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Some officials say the texting ban could be difficult to enforce, the Dallas Morning News reports, but officers will be pulling drivers over when they think they're in the wrong.
As of Friday, “in the wrong” means no written communication at all, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. No reading, writing or sending a text message or email or using social media while driving. Officers will be looking for drivers whose heads are down and swerving their vehicles.
You can look at your phone while stopped at a red light because technically you’re not operating the vehicle, according to the Morning News, but if you continue texting when the light turns green, an officer has grounds to pull you over.
Try to seek out hands-free technology with dictation capabilities to avoid typing.
Phones can be used for GPS and music and reporting an accident. The key is to keep your head up and hands on the wheel to avoid suspicion when you’re not actually breaking the law.
Those who are caught breaking the law face a $99 fine for the first offense and up to $200 for repeat offenders. Anyone convicted of texting and driving who causes serious injury or death to others faces a fine of up to $4,000 and as long as one year in jail. [The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
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- Vice President Mike Pence, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other members of President Trump’s Cabinet visited Corpus Christi and Rockport Thursday to see damage from Harvey and meet with victims. [The Texas Tribune]
- Several big names in sports and entertainment, including Houston’s own Beyoncé Knowles, have offered hefty donations for Harvey relief in the past week. [GuideLive]
- South by Southwest has announced Ta-Nehisi Coates as a keynote speaker for the 2018 conference and 24 other speakers, including Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. [SXSW]
- Meet the women in the world of competitive bearding. [Texas Monthly]