Austin, Texas
March 4, 2015

Honorable Joseph Pickett, Chair, House Committee on Transportation
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB80 by Craddick (Relating to the use of a portable wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle; creating an offense; providing penalties.), As Introduced

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

The bill would amend Chapter 545 of the Transportation Code to establish a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of not more than $99 for a first time offense or $200 if the offender has been previously convicted for the same offense, for using a hand held device to read, write, or send a text based communication while operating a moving vehicle that is not stopped and is inside of a lane of travel. The bill sets forth certain exceptions and defenses to prosecution for this offense. This section would not preempt a local ordinance, rule or regulation.
The bill would amend Chapter 521 of the Transportation Code to include knowledge of the effect of using wireless communication device while in operation of a motor vehicle in the examination of license applicants.
The bill would require the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to post a sign on each interstate highway or United States highway at the entrance to the state informing motor vehicle operators of the prohibition on using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle as set forth by the bill. TxDOT reports approximately 43 signs would need to be installed.  It is anticipated the cost of installing these signs could be absorbed within current resources.

The Office of Court Administration (OCA) anticipates any additional work resulting from the passage of the bill could be reasonably absorbed within current resources. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports there will be information technology costs to implement the bill. These costs are not likely to be significant.

Local Government Impact

There would be no significant impact on municipalities that have adopted a ban on the use of a wireless communication device for text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle if the local ordinance is consistent with or more stringent than the bill. In addition, a city that does not currently have a ban may experience a positive fiscal impact. The fiscal impact would vary by locality and would depend on the number of offenses committed and the amount of the fine issued.

Source Agencies:
212 Office of Court Administration, Texas Judicial Council, 304 Comptroller of Public Accounts, 405 Department of Public Safety, 601 Department of Transportation
LBB Staff: