As often as we're all on the road, it's a safe assumption you've seen El Pasoans do some crazy stuff behind the wheel.

Many times, it is because that person is staring down at their phone.

The other day, I saw a girl reading her texts while driving down Mesa at 50 m.p.h. Can you believe that? She barely looked up once in half a block. I got so mad I put down the foot long sub I was eating, stopped fiddling with my GPS, and mad dogged her.

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Every month, the El Paso Police Department’s Traffic Unit focuses on a specific traffic law that they then make a concerted effort to enforce.

This month it is “Use of Portable Wireless Communication Device for Electronic Messaging.” In other words, a smart phone

Through the end of the month of April 2023, traffic cops will be on the lookout for drivers texting, reading messages, or sending electronic messages while operating their vehicles.

Texas Transportation Code


Per Texas Transportation Code Section 545.4251, which is the specific law the EPPD social media post references.

"'Electronic message’ means data that is read from or entered into a wireless communication device for the purpose of communicating with another person.”

An exception to the law is if the driver is using a hands-free device, including voice-operated technology.

How the Law Reads, How Much It Will Cost You

An operator commits an offense if the operator uses a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.

A first offense under the law carries a fine between $25 and $99, and a second offense between $100 and $200. Now, you can get out of a ticket if:

In order for the offense to stick, "the behavior must be committed in the presence of or within the view of a peace officer or established by other evidence."

And f.y.i., according to the website, you are not required to hand over your phone to the officer so he or she may look at your phone to verify if you were violating the law.

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