By Officer Tristen Lopez, CSPD Public Information Officer
This week, more than 30 signs will be installed around College Station that label the city as having a hands-free ordinance in effect as it relates to drivers and their wireless communications device of choice.
The idea is that fewer distractions will result in fewer crashes, injuries and deaths.
The hands-free requirement applies to anyone using a cell phone while operating a vehicle or riding a bicycle on a public roadway in College Station, which includes typing, sending or reading texts, or making a call. Under the ordinance, even using GPS while driving requires the device to be attached to a mount.
You may pick up your device while driving only if:
- You are at a complete stop.
- It is an emergency.
- You are selecting music on your device. (state requirement)
The ordinance was approved by the College Station City Council in late February and was set to be enforced in March, but the health and budgetary impacts of COVID-19 delayed the city from moving forward until now.
Once all signs have been installed, the College Station Police Department will allow a 30-day warning period before having the option of issuing citations for violators. Fine amounts range from $25 to $500.
If a hands-free ordinance in College Station sounds familiar, you’re right: The city originally began enforcing a similar ordinance in January 2017, but by September of that same year, the state passed its own law that pre-empted some of the city’s provisions and led to the city council repealing ours.
Please don’t drive distracted — #JustDrive.