Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter
DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Denton police say if they catch you texting while driving, you won’t be LOL.
A new ordinance in effect Monday outlaws texting, emailing, tweeting, checking facebook or any other distracting smartphone activities. Using GPS is the one exception as long as the phone is mounted on your dashboard. You just can’t be holding it.
“Texting and driving causes a lot of wrecks,” says Denton resident Lara Tomlin who supports the new ordinance. “I’ve driven down the street a long time and people are swerving and they’re looking down at their phones so I’m for it.”
If police pull you over they can give you a $200 ticket.
Making a call on your phone is still allowed.
Denton resident James Martin says he always tries to steer clear of drivers who are texting, especially at night.
“Typically, when someone’s texting, you can see the glow on their face or glow from the driver’s side and you know that’s somebody you don’t want to be too close to,” says Martin.
Like Tomlin, Martin supports Denton’s ban on texting while driving.
“I’ve seen people who’ve been rear-ended,” says Martin. “I’ve seen people runoff the road by people who’ve been texting, sometimes those people don’t even know they caused an accident.”
Police say they’ll enforce the ban just like they do with speeding.
“They’re looking for any traffic violation,” says Officer Ryen Grelle. “This is a traffic violation. If I’m looking down the road, again, I see you texting, I’m going to pull you over.”
The ban doesn’t include drivers on I-35. They’re exempt.
Farmers Branch unanimously passed a texting while driving ban last March. After a 90 day grace period, that city hasn’t handed out many citations: only four from last June 18th through February 16th.
In an educational video, the city says, “If you text while driving, you are 23% more likely to be involved in an accident.” But Farmer’s Branch city leaders say it’s about changing behavior, not giving tickets.
Last year, Grand Prairie police say they cited 223 drivers caught violating their texting while driving ban.
The Texas Department of Transportation says in 2013, there were 94,943 traffic crashes in Texas attributed to distracted drivers, including those using their cell phones. In 18,576 of those crashes, there were serious injuries. 459 people were killed.
For Tomlin, the texting while driving ban is a no-brainer. “I think it’s a safety issue. You can wait to text til you stop or til you get home or pull over for a minute. Or just call them.”
Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)