AUSTIN, Texas -- Texting while driving will soon be illegal in Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he's signed the ban into law, ending a decade-long effort by safety advocates to reduce potentially deadly driver distractions on the road.
Texas will join at least 47 other states that have similar laws when the ban takes effect Sept. 1. Texting would be punishable by a fine of up to $99 for first-time offenders and $200 for repeat offenses. The ban covers texting only, not other Internet use such as map applications.
The ban comes after a March church bus crash killed 13 people. Federal investigators have said the driver of a pickup truck that hit the bus said he was checking for a text when the crash happened and had taken prescription drugs.