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Robson Ranch: Cell Phones & Driving

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Kathleen Wazny, Denton City Council, District 3

Denton will join other cities with a “Hands Free” cell phone law which will go into effect June 1, 2017. A hands-free device means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator’s hands.

In a nutshell, it means you’ll have to use “Bluetooth” technology or something similar, in order to use your cell phone while driving, or you may consider purchasing a small gadget that holds your cell phone on your dashboard. YOU CANNOT HOLD YOUR CELL PHONE or any other wireless electronic device while you’re driving.

Denton has had a ban on driving and texting since 2014. According to the Denton Police Department, it was hard to enforce. If you were holding a cell phone while driving, they did not know if you were texting, or not.

The new law includes bicycles, motorcycles, and all motor vehicles. It includes all roadways in the City of Denton, including the interstate highways that run through Denton.

You will be able to use your cell phone to talk or to use GPS navigation, but you cannot HOLD YOUR PHONE. Again, hands-free means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator’s hands.

The penalty will be a Class C Misdemeanor. It will carry a fine of up to $500.

You will still be able to make an emergency call holding your cell phone. Emergency calls include obtaining emergency assistance to report a traffic accident, medical emergency or a serious traffic hazard, or to prevent a crime about to be committed or being committed. It also describes an emergency as a reasonable belief that a person’s life or safety is in immediate danger.

You will be able to initiate or terminate a telephone call while the vehicle is stopped. You will be able to initiate or terminate navigation (GPS) while the vehicle is stopped.

The new law goes into effect June 1, 2017.

It’s an honor to serve.

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