Top Ten Items You Cannot Use While Driving In Austin

by Criminal Defence Blawg on April 15, 2017

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Austin, Texas has an unofficial motto of “Keep Austin Weird.” A symbol of how weird Austin has become is the City’s ordinance regarding distracted driving. The City of Austin may have the most restrictive ordinance regarding distracted driving in the nation. Austin prohibits the use of all electronic hand-held devices while operating a vehicle or bicycle. That’s right, do not use your cellphone while riding your bike.

Austin is so excited about people not being distracted while driving that ten items are listed in the ordinance titled “USE OF PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE OR BICYCLE” which ironically prohibits the use of the items listed below.

  1. Mobile telephone. “Hello, can you hear me now?” Not if you are driving in Austin. Put that phone away. Only an Aggie would drive while using a handheld mobile phone.
  2. Person Digital Assistant. Welcome to the new millennium. When was the last time anyone used a personal digital assistant that was not also your mobile phone? “Hello, 1998 is calling.”
  3. MP3 or other hand-held music player. I am not going to make fun the MP3 player not being part of your phone. But please, keep your walk-man securely in your backpack. Trust me, it will protect you in more ways than being distracted while riding your bike down Guad.
  4. Electronic Reading Device. Okay. Put down the book you have on your reader.
  5. Laptop Computer. Sadly, I have seen this. A guy driving down the street with a laptop on the middle armrest typing and driving. It was scary. But if any of you can ride a bike while using a laptop you could be YouTube famous.
  6. Pager. This is Austin. It is the home of Dell computers. If you are still using a pager, please call Michael.
  7. Broadband Personal Communication Device. What does that even mean? For most of us, it is the email you send on your phone….see item 1. above.
  8. GPS or Navigation System. Mine is now actually built into my vehicle. But if you still must rely on your Garmin or your phone, mount to the dashboard and be prepared for the lady to start yelling when you miss your turn.
  9. Electronic Gaming Device. Too bad, I was hoping to play Excite Bike while driving down 35.
  10. Portable Computing Device. How is this not covered by the other item? Obviously a lawyer wrote this list.


But for those of you who are not up to date on using electronic devices while driving, I did also want to give you a few things I have witnessed people doing which is not prohibited by the statute. Disclaimer, doing the following is unadvisable and may be prohibited by other laws.


  1. You can’t read it on your e-reader, but you can still pick-up a newspaper and read the sports page while driving.
  2. Read a romance novel. She must have just gotten to the good part.
  3. Apply make-up. Literally had the visor down and using the little mirror while driving!
  4. And finally, you could be the guy who is using an electric razor while driving. See, not all electronic hand-held devices are not prohibited.

About the author

My name is Andrew Decker and I am licensed to practice law in Texas. I focus on criminal defense in Parker County and Tarrant County and the surrounding area.

Criminal Defence Blawg

Criminal Defence Blawg

Criminal law blogger at CriminalDefenceBlawg
Criminal Defence Blawg is a criminal law blog, sharing legal expertise and intelligence from the UK, US, Australia and beyond. Contributions from those who share great legal information. Want to get published? Contact us today.
Criminal Defence Blawg
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