DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Members of the Denton City Council on Tuesday will decide whether or not to completely ban cell phones from the road, forcing drivers to go hands-free or hang up. That would then mean no talking on the phone or even following a GPS map unless the device is mounted.READ MORE: Arlington Police Officer Fired After Deadly Shooting
The City of Denton already banned phones in 2014 for texting, email, social media and any activities other than talking. Police have said, however, that the current law is not enough. Statistics show that the number of distracted driving crashes still went up over the next year.
In-vehicle distractions contributed to 254 crashes in Denton since the start of 2014, and authorities found that cell phone use accounted for 31 percent of all distracted driving crashes. Denton is also a college town. The city found that drivers between 18 and 20 years of age are about twice as likely to have a crash or near-crash than any other age range.
Police hope that an all-out ban would be easier to enforce.READ MORE: 14-Year-Old Fort Worth Girl Missing And In Need Of Medication
“We do have, essentially, three colleges in this city,” said Ofc. Shane Kizer of the Denton Police Department. “When you have the younger kids that are used to using the phone everywhere they go, they have a phone in their hand, it’s more distraction. Probably a little bit more concern here in Denton than some of the more rural areas.”
The council’s vote would ban cell phone use on Denton streets and highways that pass through the city, but would not apply to Interstate-35. Even picking up a phone while stopped at a traffic light could cost drivers a $200 fine. But there are exceptions to the proposed rule. Drivers can use a cell phone to report a traffic incident or if their life is in danger.
Some drivers have already been weighing in on the proposed law. “I agree with it,” said Matthew Talbott. “I think, the way the driving is getting today, it’s just too bad, too dangerous out on the road today. Too many people looking down and not paying attention.”MORE NEWS: North Texas Man Arrested For Assault On Police At US Capitol On January 6
“I don’t think anybody needs to be on their cell phone while they’re driving,” said Erin Taylor. “I have my Bluetooth, and that’s different, but you see all these kids out here driving on their phones and they’re not paying attention. It’s dangerous.”