The law takes effect
"It is a sweeping change no doubt," said
The council approved a law that is less strict than what the study group recommended, which banned all hands-on use of portable devices while a driver operated a vehicle in the roadway. Under the approved law, drivers stuck in traffic or at stoplights will be allowed to make a quick call or pick up their phone as long as their vehicle is at a complete stop.
The vote was unanimous.
The law doesn't apply to the use of hands-free devices, two-way radios and emergency communications, like dialing 911. Emergency personnel will also be exempt.
Assistant Police Chief
Manley said police will at first issue warnings for a limited time before issuing citations.
"This is not an issue we are going to resolve through enforcement, this is something we will resolve through education," he said.
The law expands an ordinance the council passed in 2009 that made texting while driving illegal. That law proved problematic, officials have said, with many loopholes and with tickets easily dismissed if an offender insisted they were dialing a telephone number and not texting.
"Our attorneys said this is really hard to enforce, because it said you can make a phone call, but that's all," said Council Member
Despite its faults,
Adding hands-on cellphone use to the law faced little public opposition Thursday. The only speakers who signed up to speak on the matter spoke in favor of the law.
However, the council hadn't posted a public hearing notice for the law. During an
During discussion, Council Member
"I don't think it makes sense to have a set of laws for motorized vehicles and nonmotorized vehicles," Mayor
In other action
--Backed a plan to develop a
--Agreed to draft rules for gender-neutral bathrooms.
--Supported a standard for setting city thermostats at 75 degrees.
Cellphone law takes effect
--Holding a phone while driving, whether talking or texting.
--Manipulating smartphone apps while driving.
--Using a hand-held cellphone while riding a bicycle.
--Hands-on use while at a complete stop.
--Use of hands-free devices.
--Using a hand-held cellphone while stopped on a road or parking lot.
--Global positioning devices affixed to a vehicle.
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