Con: Ban would be difficult to enforce

Dec. 29, 2013 at 6:29 a.m.

For Amber Faust, there is no doubt in her mind that using a cellphone while driving poses a threat on the roadways.

Faust, 25, of Yoakum, finds herself using her phone from time to time, though she tries not to. Faust would like to see a ban on using cellphones while driving. However, she does not see how enforcing such a policy would work.

"I think it could work, but you would really have to enforce it," Faust said. "I don't even believe it's being enforced right now in the school zones."

So far, the only legislation barring drivers from using cellphones went into effect in September and affects motorists in school zones, on school property and in drop-off lanes.

The smartphone technology, Faust said, has given people more need to feel connected, and she worries a ban, while it may be effective, would be too hard to police.

Juana Eason, store manager for the AT&T store at Victoria Communication Services, said 90 percent of the phones that people use today have the technology needed to be hands-free; people just need to be educated in using that technology.

"We have a pledge at VCS. We advise every single customer to not text and drive," she said. "It's easy to follow."

The quality of Bluetooth technology has made it possible to answer a call, get directions and text simply by using your voice. A driver does not even have to hold the phone, she added.

"Technology these days is marvelous," she said, adding the majority of the store's customers use Bluetooth.

But being hands-free does not mean risk-free, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The issue is distracted driving, according to a December study, and one in 10 fatal crashes involves distraction.

Faust agreed, saying phones are not the only distraction; GPS and other occurrences in the car are as well.

Regardless, Victoria Police Chief J.J. Craig said he finds it hard to think many people would argue that people should use cellphones while driving.

"I think the opposition people don't want to be told that they can't be on their cellphones," he said.

In October, Corpus Christi passed an ordinance that banned hand-held cellphone usage. Mark Scott, city councilman at-large, said Corpus Christi heard very little opposition.

Craig said he thinks the opposition also would be small in Victoria if the city passed an ordinance.

"There were a number that argued against it," Scott said. "They said it's just become a way of life."

Pro: Texting, talking on phone distract drivers, cause accidents



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