College Station moves to ban hand-held phone use for drivers

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COLLEGE STATION - A new law in College Station means that you will not be allowed to have phones in your hands behind the wheel, starting November 9th.

College Station Police Chief Scott McCollum said many drivers will need to change their habits.

"It doesn't take a scientific study to drive down the roadway and to see how much distraction is occurring,” said McCollum.

Mayor Pro Tem John Nichols introduced the city ordinance for hands-free driving six months ago, but he said the council has discussed the law for some time now.

"I thought it was time because we couldn't wait for a statewide ordinance,” said Nichols.

Almost everyone is glued to their smart phones these days, but if you are driving in College Station soon you might want to keep it stored away or the next response you could get is from the police.

"The fines range from 119 to 500 dollars across the state,” said McCollum.

In College Station, you can expect a fine between $25 and $200. The hands-free ordinance does allow drivers to use their phone for GPS if it's mounted in the vehicle, and allows for the use of bluetooth or connected devices.

The only time that you can use your mobile device is when you are stopped at a traffic device like a stop light or a stop sign.

Chief McCollum believes the law is critical. He said the way technology affects your brain is enough proof for him to know that the measure can save lives.

"If you are traveling at 25 mile per hour, it takes you 27 seconds to regain focus, and you can travel the length of three football fields. There is a lot that can happen,” said McCollum.

Chief McCollum said officers will issue warning at first, and then a citation the next time it happens. However, if someone shows proof they are using a hands free device, the citation could be waived.