Amarillo cell phone use ban is one step closer to passing - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Amarillo cell phone use ban is one step closer to passing

AMARILLO, TX- A proposal to ban cell phone use while driving could be passed at the next commissioner's meeting. 

More than half a dozen residents went up to the podium Tuesday afternoon to voice their opinion regarding the possible ban. 

Commissioners voted 4-1  to move forward with the passing of a citywide cell phone ban. 

Jim Simms was the only commissioner to vote against it and gained the support of residents like Trina Fournier. 

"I don't think it will be effective in making anything safer," Fournier said.

An overwhelming majority disagree. If approved, the ordinance would only allow drivers to operate a phone using "a voice operated hands-free device." 

 "There are only a certain amount of Bluetooths that actually allow you to use voice activation," Ashley Price with Best Buy said.

Voice activation allows you to say the name or number of the person you are trying to call.  

Not all Bluetooths, especially the cheaper ones are capable of this feature. 

"For voice activated headsets, you're looking at about $60-$70," Price said. 

If your car already has a built in voice activated blue tooth system, there is no need to purchase a Bluetooths ear piece. 

While there are options available, some residents feel this type of ordinance is just one more nuisance if it were to pass. 

"Prosecute for the distracted laws we have already," Fournier said. "We already have laws to where if you're distracted, you can be cited. That's already an offense and we don't need another law to add an extra fee. I think it boils down to a desire for another revenue stream." 

Keli Whitney with "Share the Road" has a different perspective, saying any law which can reduce accidents is successful.  

"I know everybody has a right to their opinion, but I also try to educate them and assure them that even though they think they are a responsible driver, anything can happen," she said. 

Safety is the message commissioners say will be at the forefront of their final vote set to take place Tuesday, Sept. 18. 

Concerned residents will have one final chance to voice their comments and concerns with the commission during that scheduled meeting. 

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