Amarillo’s Cell Phone Ban Warning Period Goes Into Effect Thursday
As the new year rolls in and we prepare for a fresh start, the city of Amarillo is also beginning a new chapter. Tomorrow, Thursday January 3rd, the new cell phone ordinance goes into effect.
Although there was much debate about the cell phone ordinance, it passed and as of tomorrow the warning period will be in effect. Amarillo police officers will stop drivers violating the ordinance and issue warning citations as a reminder of the new law.
This warning period will last one month. On February 2, 2013 the warnings will stop and you will be issued a $200 fine plus court costs.
Under the new law, drivers are prohibited from using a handheld cell phone for calls, texts, and other functions while driving a motor vehicle on a public street, highway, or alley. Now there are some exceptions to this law.
You can legally call for police/fire/ambulance/medical personnel in an emergency that is an immediate threat to a person’s life or safety. Also if you are a government employee or first responder acting in an official capacity with an immediate need to provide or receive information may do so. HAM radio operators are exempted under federal law.
Drivers are allowed to uses a speakerphone, voice-activated, or accessory hands-free device (such as Bluetooth©). A driver may press the button(s) necessary to activate that feature to make a call or end the call. The law doesn’t apply to a GPS unit that is separate from a cell phone.
Drivers are allowed to use their phones if they are legally parked, but being at a red light or stop sign doesn’t count.
The best advice I can give you is to go ahead a practice staying off your phone. Throw it in the glove compartment or turn the ringer off so that you are not tempted to use it. Put down the phone or pay at least $200!