The College Station city council at its last meeting voted unanimously to approve an ordinance requiring hands-free use to talk on communication devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle.
The council rescinded a total ban when a state law was passed. The revised ordinance takes into account four exceptions allowed by state law. Exceptions provided by the state includes using cell phones while driving and bicycling in an emergency, using the GPS function, changing music, and in hands free mode.
With those state exceptions, College Station’s ordinance applies to those operating vehicles as well as bicycles.
Assistant police chief Brandy Norris says if an officer sees a cell phone in someone’s hand while driving or bicycling, that’s reasonable suspicion for the officer to make a traffic stop.
Norris says CSPD will issue warnings for ten days. Fines range from $25 to $500 dollars.
Before enforcement begins, the city is required to post signs along highways at the city limits. Councilman Dennis Maloney compared the cost of new signs to the city’s expense of emergency responders going to crashes caused by distracted driving the last four years.
Councilman Maloney supported taking away phones from violators.
The stricter ban has the support of the Texas A&M student senate.