City Council discusses ban on cell phone use while driving - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City Council discusses ban on cell phone use while driving


Everyone's done it, or has seen someone that has, cell phone use behind the wheel is everywhere. During Thursday's City Council meeting the council members discussed a possible ban on texting for Lubbock.

Mayor Glen Robertson says he get's numerous email's about it every week and that the city could not continue to ignore this issue. 

"I think the worst thing we can do as elected officials is ignore an issue. If we don't have the courage to talk about the hard issues, than maybe we ought to elect some people that do have that courage," Robertson said.

Councilman Jim Gerlt is behind a full ban 100 percent. He says, it's the council's responsibility to keep the public safe. 

"If we can get thirty or fifty percent of the people to stop doing a dangerous habit, we're going to save some lives," Gerlt said. 

After getting cut off a few times himself by reckless texters, Gerlt says, it was time to do something about it. 

"I originally just started with a ban on texting. But in visiting with the police chief, there are other cities and states that have done this. It's a lot easier to enforce if you do a total ban," Gerlt said. 

The mayor hasn't made up his mind on a total ban yet, but he is eager to hear both sides. 

"I've gotten from one extreme to another, I've had people say we should ban all cell phone use totally, to people saying that infringes on civil liberties," Robertson said. 

33 states have passed bans regarding cell phone use behind the wheel, but earlier this year, Governor Perry stopped Texas from becoming one of them. Therefore now, it's left up to the individual cities. 

Mayor Robertson says the council has three options, they can ignore the issue and not go forward with voting on the ordinance. The council can consider a ban on texting only or they can ban cell phone use completely behind the wheel.

Robertson says the council understands how polarizing the issue is, therefore they're ready to take their time before making any decisions. At this time, no decision has been made on when the council will formally vote on the issue. 

During Thursday's meeting nothing was decided upon, but more discussions on the possible ban will be held in the future.

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