The new year will bring a new hands-free law to Austin and City of Austin officials recently unveiled urged drivers and bicyclists to practice safety on the road. The new ordinance prohibits the use of electronic hand-held devices while operating a vehicle or bicycle.
Unless using a hands-free system such as Bluetooth, headphones, or an affixed GPS system, use of portable devices while driving a car or operating a bike will be a citable offense beginning Jan. 1, 2015. To avoid fines up to $500, put your phone away or go hands-free. Violation of this ordinance will be a class C misdemeanor.
As defined in the ordinance, portable electronic devices include, and may not be limited, to the following:
- mobile telephone
- personal digital assistant
- MP3 or other hand-held music player
- electronic reading device
- laptop computer
- broadband personal communication device
- GPS or navigation system
- electronic gaming device
- portable computing device
Hand-held cell phone use is permitted in the event of an emergency, such calling 9-1-1 or 3-1-1 to report a crime or an accident. Even in an emergency situation, it is best to pull over and come to a complete stop before using or operating any mobile or hand-held device.