Amarillo holds public discussion of proposed cell phone ban

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The Amarillo Traffic Commission held a public hearing recently to discuss an ordinance the city council is considering that would ban motorists from using cellphones while driving. Seven out of eight of the people who spoke at the public hearing were opposed to the potential safety guideline. A panel commissioned by city lawmakers to research the impact of cell phone use while driving and gather public response to a potential ban on cell phone use has been asked to determine whether an educational program teaching motorists about the potential dangers involved in using cell phones while operating a moving motor vehicle would be a more effective approach to the issue than a citywide traffic ordinance. According to an insurance adjuster on the panel, any form of distraction while driving can be just as dangerous as using a cell phone while driving. The owner of a commercial vehicle service recommended a regulation banning drivers from composing and reading text messages while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, but said that phone calls are sometimes necessary in the course of driving a commercial vehicle. Amarillo traffic commissioners are currently analyzing accident statistics to determine whether the city’s accident rate has increased due to cellphone use.

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