Rhett Hoestenbach, P.C. Law Firm

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Hands-Free Driving in Austin, TX

One year has passed since Austin passed a hands-free driving ordinance. Under the provision, drivers must abstain from talking on the phone unless using a hands-free device. The fines, which are classified as Class C Misdemeanors can be up to $500. After the city gave drivers a month long grace-period to adjust to the new law, 5043 citations have been issued since February 1, 2015. That's when Austin residents began the transition over to hands-free gadgets. Not only can a ticket be costly and time consuming, but driving while talking on the cell phone can put you and others at risk. Other counties, such as Hays County and over 40 cities in Texas have passed their own hands-free ordinances. Fines range from $200 - $500, none being more expensive than the potential risks caused from distracted driving.

Follow these tips to stay smart when you go on the road, and avoid accidents with defensive driving.

    • Hands-free or not, postpone conversations that are emotional or complex.
    • If you need to make or answer a phone call, pull off the road into a parking lot before dialing.
    • When you get a new hands-free device, practice using it before you ever get on the road. Leave the fumbling for an open parking lot, such as outside businesses that are closed for the day.
    • When syncing your phone with your hands free device, make sure your phone is in an easy to reach location so that you do not bend over or have to reach for it.
    • No matter how well you know the road or how slow the traffic is, do not try to send text messages or engage on social media while driving on the road. Looking down for any period of time can put you and others at risk for an accident.

Social media and cell phones have allowed us to stay connected - but make sure you take the right safety precautions when engaging with others while you're in the car. Purchase a hands-free device if you plan to use your phone while operating a motor vehicle.

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