It's not just texting and driving that Austin is banning, but talking on the cell phone in the car too if the phone is up to the ear. If a police officer catches drivers or bicyclists tapping on an app while moving, they can be cited.

Hands-free devices are okay, but even mobile devices like iPads and other tablets fall under the ban now.

What about sitting at stoplights?

Many of us reach for the cell phone at stoplights I suppose because we have a couple of minutes to kill and we've become incapable of sitting there idly and waiting for the light to change. We've got to be fiddling with something. The Austin City Council decided last week as part of the cell phone diving ban, that they would allow making a fast call or picking up the phone as long as the car is at a stop. If you dial at a stoplight and talk on a bluetooth once you're in motion, you'll be okay, but don't dial or tap on an app while you're moving.

There is no statewide cell phone ban in the car at this point, but it's discouraged nonetheless. I was on the phone with AT&T the other day and at the end of the conversation the customer service rep gave me what has become the company's standard goodbye: "AT&T cares about you and your family so please don't text and drive, and have a nice day."  Other companies have started encourage no-texting-and-driving pledges too.

The Austin law goes into effect January 1st. Nacogdoches also has a law in place preventing texting and driving.