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File #: 14-2645   
Type: Staff Briefing - With Ordinance
In control: City Council A Session
On agenda: 11/6/2014
Posting Language: An Ordinance prohibiting the use of a hand-held mobile communication device to engage in a call, or send, read or write a text message or engage in any other use of the device while operating a moving motor vehicle by repealing Section 19-254 and amending Section 19-255, Article VII of the City Code of San Antonio, Texas, and providing for a fine of up to $200.00 per violation. [Erik Walsh, Deputy City Manager; William P. McManus, Chief of Police]
Indexes: Police
Attachments: 1. Draft Ordinance, 2. Ordinance 2014-11-06-0843
Related files: 14-2287, 14-2394
DEPARTMENT: Police


DEPARTMENT HEAD: William P. McManus


COUNCIL DISTRICTS IMPACTED: Citywide


SUBJECT:

An Ordinance amending 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 (CAO), 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.

According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, since 2012, San Antonio has seen over 250 vehicle crashes annually where "cell/mobile phone use" was a contributing factor. Through September of this year there have been 187 more.

SAPD has issued over 7,000 citations since Sections 19-254 and 19-255 of Article VII have been in place. However, particularly with respect to section 19-255, the difficulty in determining whether an individual is sending a text rather than making a phone call (not currently prohibited outside school zones) or participating in some other allowed use, inhibits the Department's ability to enforce these sections effectively.

Although Texas has a statewide law banning the use of cell phones while driving in school crossing zone, three major Texas cities...

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