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One Month of Warnings Kicks Off For Amarillo’s Cell Phone Ban

Photo by Mark Wilson/Newsmakers

After much debate about cell phone usage while driving, the ordinance is now going into effect.  Beginning Thursday, January 3rd if you are caught on your cell phone, you will  be pulled over. 

There is no denying that any distraction while driving is dangerous.  And the city of Amarillo especially believes that cell phones are a major distraction.  So it begins.  The signs have gone up and beginning tomorrow, anyone caught texting or talking on their phone while driving will be pulled over.

Now for one month, all you’ll receive is a warning.  But on February 2nd, 2013 the warnings will stop and you will be issued a citation for $200 plus court costs.

There are a few exceptions:  you can legally call for police/fire/ambulance/medical personnel in an emergency that is an immediate threat to a person’s life or safety. A government employee or first responder acting in an official capacity with an immediate need to provide or receive information may do so. HAM radio operators are exempted under federal law.

Also, drivers can use a speakerphone, voice-activated, or accessory hands-free device (such as Bluetooth©). A driver may press the button(s) necessary to activate that feature to make a call or end the call. The law doesn’t apply to a GPS unit that is separate from a cell phone.

If you need to use your cell phone, you must pull over and park.  You may not use your phone at a red light or stop sign, because they will still pull you over.

Whether you agree with this law or not, it is happening.  So put your phone in the back seat, glove compartment or turn it off while you drive so you won’t be tempted to use it.  Put the phone down or pay!

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