Stephenville Bans Texting Behind the Wheel

City Council in Erath County town passes ban on texting while driving

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, USA - OCTOBER 12, 2009 Photo illustration for texting and driving. (Photo by Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images)

    Stephenville is now the first city north of Austin to ban texting for drivers behind the wheel.

    "Everyone that I have spoken to at our public hearing is completely in support of a texting ban," said Stephenville Mayor Nancy Hunter.

    Stephenville Against Drivers Texting

    [DFW] Stephenville Against Drivers Texting
    City leaders in Stephenville want to join the growing number of cities in Texas banning all drivers from texting behind the wheel. If passed, the proposed ordinance will ban using cell phones, and even hand-held GPS devices when en route. (Published Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010)

    The ordinance, which goes into effect in the next 15 to 20 days, prohibits the use of wireless communication devices while driving.

    After an initial grace period of about a month or two, police will start fining offenders. The fines may cost up to $200.

    Stephenville Police Chief Roy Halsell said the ban includes any type of hand-held electronic communication where somebody is actually distracted from their driving and have to look down -- to text , dial their phone or even use their GPS.

    One Stephenville resident who supports the ban said she has given up texting behind the wheel after almost rear-ending another car not long ago.

    "Just two or three weeks ago I did that and I'm not gonna do it anymore. So no more texting and driving for me," said Julie Lowrance.

    At least half a dozen cities in Texas, including Austin and several smaller cities near Houston, have banned drivers from texting.

    Nineteen states have already banned texting behind the wheel and it's illegal in Texas for: drivers under the age of 18, school bus drivers and all drivers in school zones to text while driving.

    Tuesday night's vote on a proposed ban prohibiting drivers from talking on cell phones didn't pass.