Thirty days from Tuesday, drivers in Wichita Falls will be prohibited from holding a cell phone while driving.
The ordinance passed unanimously this morning after councilors discussed a proposed amendment last week and the city’s legal department added a line to address some of their concerns.
Under the proposed change you would be able answer a phone call while driving with your finger to make it hands free as long as you are not holding it in your hand. City leaders say drivers can speak on a hands-free device whether that be a speaker phone or blue tooth.
There was one resident who was opposed and argued the ordinance amendment is too much government involvement. The majority of other residents were for the ban because it all comes down to safety, arguing also that driving is a privilege not a right.
“I just wanted to start off by saying that i do support the hands free ordinance. I think that any type of distracted driving is dangerous and anyone who is not 100 percent focused on the task should stay off of the road,” Bryson Petersen, Wichita Falls Resident.
Even though some councilors had concerns originally, no councilor voted in opposition of the ordinance amendment.
However, there are exemptions for emergency calls.
In order to inform drivers of the ordinance amendment, there will be signs posted near city limits. There will also be a series of press releases, social media campaigns and more to inform the public.
The ticket could cost around $195 dollars. However — unlike when you get a ticket for using your phone in a school zone — Municipal Court Administrator, Stan Horton, said you cannot take defensive driving to remove it from your record.