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Austin Police Give Thumbs Down to Texting While Driving

With woolly traffic expected this weekend, city officials are reminding Austin drivers that texting while driving is banned under city law.

Texting while driving is a class C misdemeanor, which means offenders could face up to a $500 fine. And smart phone users should know that all "electronic messaging" is banned. That means no email, no Facebook, no ACL Festival iPhone app, and especially no Words With Friends behind the wheel.

Police Chief Art Acevedo asked drivers to be especially aware of pedestrians around Zilker Park this weekend, which, of course, is hosting the Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend. Acevedo says crashes are likely to happen when texters look up from their phones and overcorrect.

To remind drivers not to text, Acevedo sported an orange thumb band, and encouraged others to do the same. 

Acevedo says it makes it almost impossible to text. "It’s a handicap in terms of what you’re creating," Acevedo says, "and that is a very unsafe environment, a very unsafe situation."

Acevedo pointed out that texting is to blame for 100,000 crashes nationwide last year.

Got something that really can't wait? According to the city's ordinance, it's okay to text "while the vehicle is stopped."

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