UPDATE: The Denton City Council voted 6-1 to pass the ban on using hand held device behind the wheel Tuesday night.
DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A proposed ordinance goes before the Denton City Council on Tuesday night that would ban cell phones from behind the wheel. The debate over this issue has raged on for months, but a decision may finally be made on this matter.
Texting while driving has already been outlawed in Denton city limits. The new measure would give police in Denton the right to pull over drivers for even talking on a cell phone, or holding it to use a GPS mapping app. Drivers would be forced to either go hands-free or hang up.
The texting ban included smartphone activities like checking email and posting on social media. But police officials stated that it has not been enough. Statistics have shown that the number of distracted driving crashes still increased. Phone use accounts for 31 percent of the city’s distracted driving crashes, authorities added.
Police are hoping that an all-out phone ban will be easier to enforce, will help prevent these potentially fatal crashes, and will make Denton roads safer. Some residents in Denton agree.
“Drivers don’t really need to be texting or talking on the phone,” said Denton resident Jim Soles. “Even with hands-free, your mind cannot keep up with driving at the same time.”
If the city council approves the ordinance, cell phones would be banned on Denton streets and highways, but the restrictions would not apply to Interstate-35. Even picking up a phone at a traffic light could cost drivers a $200 fine. But there are some exceptions to the rule. Drivers would still be able to use a phone to report a traffic incident or in life-threatening situations.
The proposed ordinance was tabled when it was last brought up for a vote. But council member Kathleen Wazny has a strong feeling that the issue will have a decision on Tuesday night. Police worked with a legal team to make the previous ordinance’s ambiguous terminology more clear for both citizens and officers to understand.