Starting September 1, it will be illegal to text while driving in Grand Prairie.

The City Council passed a "no texting and driving" ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday night. Violators risk a fine up to $200 after an initial 90-day grace period.

"When the state did not pass such a law in the last session, we felt it important for the safety of our streets and drivers to move forward with such a law in Grand Prairie," Police Chief Steve Dye said in a written statement.

Drivers are still permitted to place and answer phone calls while driving, and a phone can be used as a GPS mapping device "if affixed to the vehicle."

But using a smartphone to read or write messages, to view photos or videos or to play games is now strictly prohibited in Grand Prairie.

The school district and the city will be installing warning signs at the exits of all four high schools this week to alert young drivers to the new regulations.

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