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A Detailed Look at San Antonio’s Fight Against Distracted Driving

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Jonathan Hernandez1 year ago

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and today on the blog, we take a look at the San Antonio city ordinance banning the use of cellphones and hand-held devices and curb the number of wrongful deaths resulting from distracted driving.

Background about the Ordinance

In the fall of 2014, the San Antonio City Council voted to implement a city ordinance that effectively banned the use of all hand-held devices while driving. The city ordinance went into effect on January 1, 2015.

While it was already illegal for drivers to use their phone while driving in school zones, the new ordinance expanded the law to include all parts of the city. The ban included talking on the phone, texting, viewing emails and photos, and using smartphone applications while driving – even if the driver of the vehicle was stopped at a stop sign, red light, or stuck in traffic.

Details About the San Antonio City Ordinance

The specific actions that are banned by the city ordinance in San Antonio include:

  • Engaging in a call – talking to, dialing, or listening on a hand-held device.
  • Hand-held device – text-messaging device, or other two-way electronic device.

Someone may use the phone if:

  • Hands-free device – phones with hands-free features (including Bluetooth and headphones) are exempt from the ban.
  • Drivers are allowed to use GPS navigation on their smartphones so long as the phone is somehow affixed to the vehicle.
  • Emergency phone calls are also exempt from the ban.
  • On private property or legally parked.
Why Was the Ban Implemented?

According to San Antonio police Chief William McManus, the ban was originally implemented to promote safe driving, as well as to make it easier for authorities to know when someone was using their phone while operating a motor vehicle.

A violation of the ban can result in a citation and a fine of up to $200.


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