city of San Antonio


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File #: 14-2394   
Type: Staff Briefing - Without Ordinance
In control: Public Safety Committee
On agenda: 10/1/2014
Posting Language: Briefing and Possible Action on a Council Consideration Request from Councilman Gallagher regarding an Amendment to the City Code related to the Use of a Hand-held Mobile Communication Device while Driving [Presented by William McManus, Chief of Police]
Indexes: Police
Attachments: 1. Draft Revisions to 9-254 and 9-255
Related files: 14-2287, 14-2645
Date Ver.Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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DEPARTMENT: Police


DEPARTMENT HEAD: William P. McManus


COUNCIL DISTRICTS IMPACTED: Citywide


SUBJECT:

Briefing and Possible Action on a Council Consideration Request from Councilman Gallagher regarding an Amendment to the City Code related to the Use of a Hand-held Mobile Communication Device while Driving


SUMMARY:

The City of San Antonio Municipal Code Sections 19-254 and 19-255 currently restrict certain uses of mobile devices while driving in a school zone and on all City streets respectively. As a result of a Council Consideration Request by Councilman Gallagher and in partnership with the City Attorney's Office, SAPD has developed proposed revisions to these chapters, expanding restrictions to reduce distracted driving and increase public safety.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Chapter 19, Article VII sections 19-254 (adopted August 2008) and 19-255 (adopted October 2010) of the San Antonio City Code prohibit certain uses of a mobile communication device while driving a motor vehicle. Section 19-254 prohibits all uses (talking, reading or sending text messages, etc) in school zones, while Section 19-255 prohibits sending and reading text messages only. Both sections provide some exemptions for emergency situations.

SAPD has issued over 7,000 citations since these prohibitions became effective. However, particularly with respect to section 19-255, determining whether an individual is sending a text rather than making a phone call (not currently prohibited outside school zones) inhibits the Department's ability to enforce the sections effectively.

Although Texas has a statewide law banning the use of cell phones while driving in school crossing zone, three major Texas cities, Austin, Corpus Christi and EI Paso, have recently adopted ordinances that restrict all uses of hand-held mobile devices while driving on any city street. Ft. Worth, Texas is currently considering passage of similar ordinances.

Under the proposed ...

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