EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The El Paso Police Department has released their traffic focus for the month of April, concentrating on the “use of portable wireless communication devices for electronic messaging.”

According to the Texas Transportation Code sec. 545.425, the use of portable wireless communication device for electronic messaging could result in an offense.

An operator commits an offense if the operator uses a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. In order to be prosecuted, the behavior must be committed within the view of a peace officer or established by other evidence, according to EPPD.

EPPD adds that “electronic message” means data that is read from or entered into a wireless communication device for the purpose of communicating with another person.

It’s an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense when the operator used a portable wireless communication device:

  • “in conjunction with a hands-free device, as defined by Section 545.425”
  • “to navigate using a global positioning system or navigation system”
  • to report illegal activity, summon emergency help, or enter information into a software application that provides information relating to traffic and road conditions to users of the application”
  • “to read an electronic message that the person reasonably believed concerned an emergency”
  • “that was permanently or temporarily affixed to the vehicle to relay information in the course of the operator’s occupational duties between the operator and
    • a dispatcher,
    • a digital network or software application service,
    • to activate a function that plays music”