City Ordinance: 53-16 -Use of Wireless Communications While Driving

The following is the City Ordinance regarding “cell phone” use within Corpus Christi, Texas. Effective today Officers will issue warning citations for violations within this ordinance. On November 11th, 2013 Officers will begin issuing citations for violations.


Adding a new section 53-16 of the city code relating to restrictions on use of wireless communications while driving, creating an offense, providing for penalties, providing for severance, providing for publication, and providing for an effective date,

SECTION 1. Chapter 53 of the City of Corpus Christi Code of Ordinances is amended by adding a new Section 53-16 to read:

Sec. 53-16. Use of wireless communications while driving.
A. Definitions
“Hands-free device” means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the motor vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator’s hands.
“Park or Parked” shall mean for the operator to completely cease movement of a motor vehicle in a lawful manner and location. For purposes of this Section, “Parked” does not include or mean a vehicle stopped in a lane of traffic due to either a lawful traffic control device, or the conditions on the roadway, or traffic congestion patterns then existing.
“Wireless communication device” means a device that uses a commercial mobile service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. § 332.

B. An operator of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within the city limits.

C. This section does not apply to an operator of a motor vehicle using a wireless communications device:
1. while the vehicle is parked;
2. that is affixed to the vehicle and used as a global positioning or navigation system;
3. that is used with a hands-free device;
4. who is an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle while acting in an official capacity;
5. who is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission while operating a radio frequency device other than a wireless communication device; or
6. while driving a motor vehicle on private property.

C. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this section if a wireless
communications device is used to make an emergency call to:
(1) an emergency response service, including a rescue, emergency medical, or hazardous
material response service;
(2) a hospital;
(3) a fire department;
(4) a health clinic;
(5) a medical doctor’s office;
(6) an individual to administer first aid treatment; or
(7) a police department.

D. A violation of this Section is a Class C misdemeanor punishable as provided in Section 1-6 of
the Code of Ordinances.

E. The culpable mental state required by Section 6.02 of the Texas Penal Code is specifically
negated and dispensed with and a violation under this subsection is a strict liability offense.

F. To the extent that this section conflicts with the Texas Transportation Code, this section does
not apply.

SECTION 2. If for any reason any section paragraph subdivision clause phrase word or
provision of this ordinance shall be held invalid or unconstitutional by final judgment of a court
of competent jurisdiction it shall not affect any other section paragraph subdivision clause phrase
word or provision of this ordinance for it is the definite intent of this City Council that every
section paragraph subdivision clause phrase word or provision hereof be given full force and
effect for its purpose.

SECTION 3. Publication shall be made one time in the official publication of the City of
Corpus Christi as required by the City Charter of the City of Corpus Christi.

SECTION 4. Penalties are as provided in Section 1-6 of the Code of Ordinances.

SECTION 5. This ordinance takes effect immediately upon passage.