APD: Texting while driving ban difficult to enforce
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Austin’s Public Safety Commission discussed Monday night the city ordinance which prohibits texting while driving.
After hearing a report on last year’s high number of traffic deaths, the commission heard from Austin police officers who brought up concerns with the texting ban.
Commissioners asked police officials to research other states and cities with effective texting while driving bans.
"It is very challenging to enforce this because there are incidents where people are legitimately using their phones and things for purposes like emergency calls and things of that sort,” Lt. Robert Richman with the Austin Police Department said. “It is challenging, and that is not to say that we are not doing our best efforts to try to continue to find new and creative ways to actually enforce that within the ordinance and within the law."
While they admit texting is a problem, Austin police say their biggest problem is aggressive drivers. To curb this, they have added a nighttime motorcycle shift and a highway enforcement team among other changes.
Any changes to the texting while driving ordinance would have to be approved by city council.