ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/KRLD) – Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck says the city council has approved coming up with a new ordinance that would ban texting while driving and only allow behind-the-wheel cell phone calls if the driver has a hands-free device.
“This is an attempt just to stop the frivolous stuff, ya know, like sending e-mails or text messages, or even calling somebody you have to look down at your keyboard,” explained the mayor.
Cluck says the city isn’t trying to keep people from using their phones in an emergency. “What we want is for people not to talk, or text, or look at texts, and only use the phone if you have a hands-free device because distracted driving causes lots of accidents.”
In 2009 alone, distracted drivers caused more than 100,000 Texas crashes, including 408 fatalities. Cluck says accidents are a likely result if drivers aren’t paying attention to the road. “It only makes sense, because when you’re talking or looking at your cell phone you’re more likely to be distracted and there’s just no reason for that.”
Lawmakers in Austin are considering a similar statewide ban on texting while driving and car cell phone use. “It’s probable that the state is going to impose their own rules,” said Cluck. “If they include everything we want then we’ll go by their rules.”
Arlington officials will have to decide on what penalties to impose before any final votes on the ordinance are taken.