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New law orders austin drivers put down phone

New law orders austin drivers put down phone

  • 2015-01-16
 

New year, new law!! And you may have already broken it today just out of habit. Starting today it is illegal in Austin to use your cell phone while driving. The new law broadens an existing law that already bans texting while driving. The texting while driving ban was pretty specific so police had to make sure you were texting and not dialing or one of the other exceptions to the law. The new city ordinance that takes effect today "prohibits the use of all hand-held electronic devices while operating a vehicle or bicycle." That wording makes it a lot easier for police to spot a violation. There is one exception to the law. You can use your phone if you're stopped in traffic. But one member of the city panel that came up with the new law says he's still against that exemption and will take it up with the new city council. Edward Sledge says, "We stipulated that it be in effect not only while moving but while stopped. That's very important, especially when people are stopped at stop lights." If you want to continue to use your phone while driving in Austin your options are limited. If your new car is Bluetooth-equipped you can pair it with your phone and chat away. If you have an older car, find yourself a Bluetooth earpiece. You tap on that to take a call instead of digging for your phone. Or you can get a GPS that doubles as a speaker phone. The city is giving you a month's grace period to get used to the new law. Then in February they'll start writing tickets which could run you up to $500. The City of Austin has put together an online guide to the new law. To find it just go to this page:http://www.austintexas.gov/handsfree. and to learn more about efforts to keep your streets safe from distracted drivers, check out the No Text zone on keyetv.com.(from KEYE TV)

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