New texting while driving ban full of loopholes

Law took effect Sept. 1

HOUSTONA new Texas law now in effect that bans texting while driving is full of loopholes, Channel 2 Investigates has learned.

The law took effect Sept. 1, during the height of Harvey.

"I think it is going to be very difficult to enforce," Jeff Seely, a personal injury attorney in Houston with Gordon, Elias & Seely, said.

Seely, who generally supports the new law, said that the legislation, a product of compromise, offers drivers a range of possible defenses and mandates that officers must not only witness offenders using their phones, but identify that the activity is specifically texting.

“It gives people (permission) to use their phones under certain circumstances,” Seely said.

Drivers are still permitted to make and receive phone calls, as long as local ordinance does not prohibit it.

Drivers are also allowed to use navigation and music applications. The law does not address the use of internet browsers, search functions, gaming or other phone applications.

However, the way the law is written, the use of messaging and communications applications like Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Twitter appear to be prohibited.