Talking, texting and driving might soon be illegal in Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - If you are someone that likes to talk on the phone and drive, soon you might not be able to in the Falls.

Wichita Falls city council members are discussing that very issue Tuesday. The ordinance is all-encompassing to include texting as well.

If the ordinance passes, drivers on these roads will have to be hands free when behind the wheel while using their phone. It all boils down to what city officials believe is in the best interest of Wichita Falls.

"It's a public safety concern," Mayor Stephen Santellana said. "If not data driven, more common sense driven that texting and facebooking while trying to drive is not going to be safe for the citizens of Wichita Falls."

Driving while talking, texting and tweeting is second nature to some, including Mayor Santellana.

"I do it all the time," Mayor Santellana said. "I leave this office and by the time I'm leaving I'm texting or talking on the phone. What you find yourself doing is re-training yourself. I find myself using the talk-to-text, Siri to do my texting, my phone calls, my bluetooth."

City council will discuss a possible ordinance at Tuesday's council meeting before, most likely, voting on it in two weeks, giving the public an opportunity to voice their comments and go over all the information.

Mayor Santellana said around 80 percent of people he has talked to are for it, but not everyone.

"I've had a couple people email me about infringement on civil liberties," Mayor Santellana said. "But that's really a far stretch if you ask me. A lot of people think it's a revenue based move. That's the farthest thing from consideration right now. Public safety to us is the most paramount thing we have for our citizens. And if I have the ability to help in those endeavors then I will."

There are 90 cities in Texas that ban using your cell phone while driving. Several bills have been proposed and passed in the state legislature that then Governor Rick Perry would not sign into law.

Mayor Santellana encourages anyone to attend the meeting if they want to speak on the issue.

It's Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. inside council chambers at Memorial Auditorium.

Stay with 6 as we continue to follow this story.

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