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Council OKs Distracted Driving Ordinance

Friday, August 29, 2014 by Elizabeth Pagano

After a brief foray into the ins and outs of ham radio operation, Austin City Council passed its new Distracted Driving Ordinance on Thursday, despite persistent concerns that the law has too many loopholes. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015, bans operators of motor vehicles and bicycles from using portable electronic devices. Those devices include phones, PDAs, music players, GPS devices and e-readers. City Council did allow an exception that will permit the use of cellphones while motorists and bicyclists are at a complete stop. Additionally, hands-free devices will be permitted. A bid to reduce the ordinance’s application to cyclists was rejected. Council also took the time to clarify that two-way radios used for business, FCC-approved devices and emergency communications will be allowed under the new law.


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