Wednesday, January 26, 2011

McAllen follows San Antonio's lead: Bans texting while driving

From the McAllen Monitor

McALLEN — City leaders have banned texting while driving, unanimously passing the ordinance after little discussion. The new law forbids the sending or reading of text messages while driving, and also outlaws browsing the web from behind the wheel. Talking on the phone is still legal.

“I’m concerned about the 8,000 accidents we have every year in our city,” said City Commissioner Jim Darling, who introduced the proposal in December, before it was tabled for further review and input.
All commissioners present voted for the ordinance at their meeting Monday evening. Mayor Richard Cortez said he would have preferred to wait for the state Legislature to take action — at least 10 bills on the topic have been filed during the current session, according to city research — but would follow the commission’s wishes.

Police Chief Victor Rodriguez backed the ordinance, which officers will enforce with a traffic citation when necessary. The maximum fine for most municipal court traffic violations is $200.
“It allows us to seize the message, instead of leaving it out there that, ‘It’s not illegal, so it must be OK,’” Rodriguez said. He met with MCN 12, the city’s cable network, on Tuesday to discuss public service announcements.

It’s not clear how officers would differentiate between people dialing a cell phone, which remains legal, and people sending a text message. Rodriguez said phone records could be subpoenaed to settle the matter in court.


  1. Great point on enforcement. To subpeona a cell phone record for a $200 fine is crazy. Why not just enforce careless and wreckless driving laws?

  2. Good point,texting and driving is careless and wreckless so yes, they could already be enforcing it. Actually, just plain using a cell phone even to talk could be construed as careless and wreckless. I think whatever needs to be done to improve safety should be done. Thanks for the comment.

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