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DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – If you are caught texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle in Denton, be prepared to pay a fine. The city’s ban starts Monday. Dozens of signs are now posted and police will be on the lookout for distracted drivers.
The new ban includes texting, emailing, checking GPS navigation — pretty much anything that requires a driver to look down at a phone, even for just a few seconds. However, phone calls are not included in the ban.
And the Denton Police Department confirmed on Twitter that drivers using phones as GPS devices will not be fined so long as their phone is mounted. Drivers cannot be holding their phones in their hands.
“On a regular basis, you see it,” explained Officer Ryan Grelle with the Denton Police Department. “I mean, you see the people not paying attention, almost hitting other vehicles, almost hitting bicyclists, pedestrians. They take their eyes off the road for that split second. That’s the split second you can have the accident.”
The ordinance was passed back in May, and there had been a grace period for drivers to become accustomed to the new rules. But that grace period is now over.
Anyone who is pulled over for distracted driving could face a hefty $200 fine.
Most people in Denton seem to support the ban, and some think it does not go far enough. “I think looking down is the worst part, especially because we have two universities here,” said Denton driver Ashley Grunewald. “Kids everywhere. We got a large school district. So, I think it’s a good idea.”
The Texas Department of Transportation is expected to continue posting even more signs on major roadways, warning drivers about the new ordinance. But there is an exception. Interstate-35 is not included in the ban. Police will not give tickets to out-of-town drivers who are passing through and may not be aware of the ordinance.