Wichita Falls to ban using cell phones in your hand while driving

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - It's official.
A ban on hand-held cell phone use in your car in Wichita Falls is coming soon.
City council unanimously passed the ordinance Tuesday.
In 30 days you will not be able to respond to missed calls or texts on your phone while driving.
The city said it is all in an effort to enhance public safety.
The hands free ban is a passionate topic for many.
    "To throw a net over everybody that can't afford a hands free device is discriminatory," one concerned citizen said.
    "I've seen students on campus nearly get run over because a 4,000 pound ball of steel was coming at them doing 40 mph in a 20 mph zone," a Midwestern State student said. "And the driver can't take their eyes off a little cell phone screen."
Regardless of which side of the issue you are on, everyone will have to abide by the new law.
    "All the studies show that distracted driving is dangerous driving," Kinley Hegglund, the Wichita Falls City Attorney said. "And this is something the council wants to do to protect all the citizens in our community."
Here is how it will work: Drivers will be allowed to touch their phones to begin a call, put it on speaker or end the call, but will not be allowed to hold it in their hand.
The ordinance passing hits close to home for one local man that suffered broken vertebrae, ribs and scar tissue from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head from a wreck involving a distracted driver.
The consequences have gone far beyond his injuries.
    "My family's scars are in excess of what I have endured for two years," he said. "Because my daughter doesn't want to ride a bike. My son doesn't want to walk to school, even though it's a five minute walk."
Police Chief Manuel Borrego said that is why it is so important to pass the new law.
    "It's devastating to the person that get's involved in the accident and is injured," Chief Borrego said. "And also the one's that may have injured somebody else. You can't get those seconds back."
A fine for this offense could be up to $500 dollars, not including the court costs that could come on top of that.
Chief Borrego said, in most cases, officers will be looking for distracted drivers and believes it wont be too hard to make a judgment call on whether you are touching or holding your phone.

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