ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Arlington is looking at a possible ban on cell phone use by drivers.

The Arlington City Council is considering an ordinance similar to one in El Paso that prohibits all but hands-free cell phone use.

Darrell Petry, with the El Paso Police Department, says since the ordinance was passed last year officers there have been busy writing tickets.

“Since April 1st of 2010 through July 20th 2011 we’ve issued 10,941 cell phone citations,” said Petry.

Petry says the goal of the ordinance was to help drivers keep their mind on the road. “It takes the phone out of your hand from talking on the phone. It takes the phone or the device out of your hand from texting, Google searching, all that stuff that you can do on smartphones now.”

Arlington police say cell phone distractions are a factor in 1 out of every 20 accidents in the city.

Arlington city councilmember Robert Rivera, who is in favor of passing an ordinance, believes the number of cell phone-related crashes will only increase. “We’re talking about accidents that are preventable,” he said. “We’re also talking about a problem that only grows each year.”
In El Paso an illegal cell phone use citation is $50. No word on what the fee will be in Arlington if an ordinance is passed.

Currently hand-held cell phone use is only banned in Arlington school zones.