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Tough New Distracted Driving Ordinance Proposed

Updated: Monday, August 4 2014, 10:37 PM CDT

Austin officials want to cut down on accidents from distracted driving -- but a new proposal goes a little beyond driving.

Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Brian Manley laid out the proposed ordinance Monday afternoon. And it would make calling or texting when at a stop light a no-no. The car would have to be off the road and in park to avoid a ticket.

But would the law actually stop people from texting and driving?

Numbers are low when it comes to ticketing people who break the current no texting law. But Asst. Chief Manley attributes the low number to the way the current law is written.

"It's very difficult for an officer who's on patrol and observes a motorist driving a vehicle to determine whether they are actually dialing a phone number, which would be legal, or whether they're texting which would be illegal," he says.

All hands-on phone use would be banned under the proposed ordinance.

It will also apply to cyclists.

The Austin City Council will take a look at the proposal this week. The goal is to have a final version ready by the end of this month.

By Melanie Lofton

Tough New Distracted Driving Ordinance Proposed

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