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Texas governor signs bill banning texting while driving

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation that will make it illegal to text while driving in the state.

The law, effective Sept. 1, prohibits the use of a portable wireless communication device to read, write or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped. First-time offenders will be fined at least $25 but not more than $99, while repeat offenders will be penalized at least $100 and not more than $200.

The law does, however, allow drivers to use navigation and music programs while operating their vehicles. Abbott told the Associated Press that he wants lawmakers in a special session this summer to pass a state law that will roll back any local ordinances that ban mobile device use beyond texting while driving.

Joe Woods, vice president of state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America in a statement said that insurers believe the bill would save lives and noted that auto accidents have jumped 14% in the last two years.