Archive for January, 2015

Eyes on The Road! New Hands-Free Ordinance in Austin

January 4th, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

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Remember all the smart phones that came out last year, right on time for the holidays? The iPhone 6 dropped in September and Samsung released both the S5 and the Note4 in time for Christmas. Perhaps that’s what inspired the City of Austin to adopt a new, hands-free ordinance in 2015. That’s right. This update in local law was inspired by the fact that Austin is, more often than not, the leading city in Texas, and this is the city’s chance to inspire updates in safety laws throughout the state. Our new law started on the first of January.

As of January 1st, it will be a ticket-able offense to ride your bicycle or drive your car while on any hand-held device. The keyword here is “hand-held”, as mounted GPS and backseat DVD players are perfectly street-legal. The new cell phone ordinances in particular aim to reduce the number of accidents caused by a moment’s distraction. Over the past 3 years, over 400,000 cyclists and motorists were killed by people using their phones. So whether you’re reading the map or texting your eta, the police will not discriminate. The fine is steep, but the Austin government sees it as an “effort to refocus drivers on the task of driving”.

This should all be obvious, right? Keep your eyes on the road, and don’t risk it. Your life is worth more than a $500 fine, and that will still sting your wallet as you come down from all that holiday partying. For more information on the fines and list of hand-held devices that are no longer allowed in the front seat, visit the City of Austin site.