Council to vote on city texting and driving ban Thursday - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Council to vote on city texting and driving ban Thursday

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The Lubbock City Council will consider an ordinance that would ban texting and driving within Lubbock city limits on Thursday. The ordinance is endorsed by Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson, Councilman Victor Hernandez and Councilman Jim Gerlt.

"I felt like the city just needed to go ahead and do something about it," said Mayor Pro Tem Gibson.

"You cannot send a text-based message, you can't email, you can't text, so you cannot type while you're driving," Gibson said.

The exact language says a person would pay a fine of up to $200 if he/she, "uses a handheld wireless communication device to read, write or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is stopped in a location other than in a lane of traffic on a roadway."

There are some exceptions: Drivers will be allowed to use their phone if they are using its GPS capabilities or if they are using hands-free systems such as voice-dictated texting.

But Mayor Robertson said enforcement is one of the reasons he can't support it.

"I think the ordinance is extremely poorly written. It looks to me like a feel-good ordinance that's going to make it look like we're actually doing something when we're not," he said. "I would propose and would vote for a total ban on texting while driving, but I'm not going to be able to support this ordinance tomorrow evening."

Most people think teens and college students are the biggest offenders when it comes to texting and driving. KCBD went on the Texas Tech campus to get student reaction to the proposed ordinance.

Texas Tech Junior James Freed says as long as the driver is out of a school zone or off the highway, texting while driving should be allowed.

"(If you are on) a straight road, generally you can see everything around you," Freed said.

He says many people in his circle of friends are guilty of texting and driving and feels personally that he can do it safely.

"If you just look down for a second or two and just get a couple of letters and look're not looking at your phone for the whole text, then that's a lot safer," he said.

Tech Senior Rosalinda Krug felt that this ordinance infringes on the rights of adults.

"That's an invasion of adult's privacy. There's already a law for 18 and under so why should there be for adults," Krug said.

Senior Anna Lofye feels that this is a problem the council needs to address. She said that she sees it everywhere and would feel safer on the roads if it was illegal.

"It's everywhere, even I am guilty of it," she said.

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