Cellphone Ban Coming to Austin
Like several other cities in Texas, Austin has placed a cellphone ban on drivers. This week, the Austin City Council unanimously passed an ordinance which will ban hand-held cellphone use while driving or biking within city limits. This new ban will go into effect on January 1, 2015.
In 2009, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting texting while driving although city and law enforcement officials stated that law had too many loopholes. The proposed ordinance will apply to cellphones, MP3 players, electronic games, messaging devices and any other hand-held device. This new cellphone ban applies to drivers when the vehicle is in motion. If the vehicle is at a complete stop, the cellphone ban does not apply and you are free to use your hand-held device.
When speaking with Austin drivers, feelings are mixed however the vast majority of people we spoke do think this new cellphone ban will mitigate distractions while driving ultimately making Austin roads safer.
The cellphone ban will not apply to those using their phone for emergency purposes, calling 9-1-1, or using a two-way radio for business purposes. The proposed ordinance did not define fees or fines associated with being caught or ticketed, so Defensive Driving Texas will update as soon as those values are released.
Other cities in Texas have also passed cellphone ban laws such as Corpus Christi. The City of Corpus Christi bans all texting, talking and use of GPS on phones. They also employ two patrol officers who sole responsibility is to locate and ticket violators. Corpus Christi currently issues a fine of up to $500 and orders completion of a defensive driving course.
If you are interested in more information about cellphone use while driving or cellphone ban laws across Texas or Nationwide, please visit the US Department of Transportation’s website, Faces of Distracted Driving.
Defensive Driving Texas strives to make Texas roadways safer while also continuing to educate drivers on safer driving behaviors and habits. More and more communities across Texas are also striving to make roadways safer by enacting cellphone ban laws. Stay alert at all times and remove distractions while driving.