Tougher Distracted Driving Ban on the Agenda in Denton

The tragedy hit hard from Argyle to Denton last weekend -- a head-on collision that killed two mothers and their daughters along U.S. Highway 377.

Denton police said in the moments before that crash that killed Ashley Morgan, Lorelei Cotter, Emma Shafer and Tita Shafer Saturday morning, the driver of the car that crossed the centerline’s cell phone was in use.

At this point, Officer Orlando Hinojosa said in a press release on the crash, cell phone usage can’t be discounted as a possible factor in the crash.

The news brought many on social media Friday to again question the need for tougher laws on distracted driving. It's something Denton city leaders have spent the first part of the year mulling, as well.

Nearly two years ago, the city banned texting and electronic messaging while driving. At that time, the council stopped short of an all-out device ban behind the wheel.

As they reviewed the ordinance in February, interest in taking the ban to that next step did resurface, though.

Now, City Spokesperson Lindsey Baker said the Traffic Safety Commission has recommended a full ban be considered.

So it will.

On May 24, the council is scheduled to debate expanding the ordinance to include any use of a hand-held electronic device while driving.

Denton would not be the first to take the step.

This year alone, their fellow Denton County communities of Argyle, Little Elm and Lake Dallas have all enacted all-out device while driving bans, though most are still in a grace period.

A bill is also moving through the Texas State Legislature to get some sort of distracted driving law on the books statewide. Previous attempts have failed.

There is still debate among the public about whether such bans work or can be enforced.

Since Denton’s texting ban went into effect, police told us in December that 31 tickets had been issued for violations in about 10 months of ticketed enforcement.

At the same time, Argyle reported 225 tickets in the life of their four year ban.

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