Brian Scott, NBC 5 News
The Denton City Council is looking at new data and public input Tuesday night as it tries to device how to address distracted driving around town.
The Denton City Council is considering new rules to ban texting while driving.
During a work session Tuesday afternoon, council members gave the city staff direction to draft an ordinance banning texting while driving in the city limits and defining "texting" to include text messages, email and web surfing. They will also look at educational campaigns to encourage people to curb device use behind the wheel.
Once an ordinance is drafted it could go directly to the formal council for public comment and vote.
The proposed changes are a departure from a wider ban the city was considering.
In Oct., 2013, the council had begun talks of banning all handheld communication devices completely and asked city staff to look into the option further. The result was a report with input from the city’s transportation director and chief of police.
The report showed local crash data regarding distracted driving and the resulting wrecks and injuries from them.
It also included a survey of Denton citizens from EngageDenton.com that asked the people what they thought of a total ban.
The survey showed 190 were in favor of the idea while about 146 said they were against it; citing issues like enforcement and the need to make some calls on the go.
The report also included crash data from other cities that already have texting or device bans. However Denton Chief of Police Lee Howell wrote that the bans had not been in place long enough to produce the data required to call them a success or not. In his conclusion he said the success of distracted driving laws in reducing incidents cannot be concluded at this point.
Right now the state of Texas does not ban texting nor device use while driving, but city council members in Denton said they want to do something about it locally.