Home Breaking News REMINDER: Kerrville’s new “Hands-free” city ordinance begins Sunday, July 22

REMINDER: Kerrville’s new “Hands-free” city ordinance begins Sunday, July 22

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REMINDER (07/19/2018)- The City of Kerrville has reminded residents that the new “Hands-free” city ordinance begins this Sunday, July 22.

The City of Kerrville states, “After July 22, violations will carry a fine. For the first offense, a driver can be fined $100. The second offense carries a fine of $200. A third offense or subsequent offenses will have a fine of $500.”

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Please be aware of the new ordinance as you travel within the city.

The city has created a video about the new ordinance, which can be viewed below. Under the video is the original story with details about the “Hands-free” ordinance as issued by the City of Kerrville.

ORIGINAL STORY (05/10/2018)- In a press release by Kerrville Police Department, more details about the new “Hands-free” city ordinance have been laid out.

The press release issued on May 10, 2018, reads as follows:

An ordinance recently went into effect on April 23, 2018 that addresses the issues of distracted driving in an effort to stop motorists from engaging in this potentially deadly behavior and draw attention to the hazards of distractions while driving. Drivers are encouraged to break bad electronic device use driving habits by putting away the phone and keeping their eyes, hands and brains focused on their driving. The ordinance prohibits the
use of all electronic hand-held devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle within the city limits of Kerrville.

Vehicle accidents involving drivers distracted by hand-held devices doubled in Kerrville from approximately 17 in 2015 to 37 in 2017. In 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 3,477 people were killed nationally and 391,000 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.

The city of Kerrville adopted Ordinance No. 2018-10, amending Chapter 102, Article IV, Division I of the City Code, to prohibit the use of hand-held portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle. The ordinance went into effect April 23,
2018, but drivers have a 90-day grace period during which warnings will be issued for violations of the ordinance. After July 22, 2018, violators will be cited and fined.

A person convicted of an offense under this ordinance, to exclude the state law (House Bill 62 – Texting While Driving), shall be fined in accordance with the following:

(a) First offense shall have a fine of $100.00;(b) Second offense shall have a fine of $200.00; and
(c) Third and subsequent offenses shall have fine of $500.00.

Each day’s violations shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. Any prior conviction under this ordinance will count towards a second and third charge regardless of when it occurred.
It is an offense if a person uses a hand-held portable electronic device while operating a vehicle to:

1. Engage in a call;
2. Send, read or write an electronic message on a wireless communication device.
3. Take or view pictures or written text whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, or access or view an internet website or software application;
4. Engage in gaming; or
5. Engage in any other use of the device while operating a vehicle, to include holding the hand-held portable electronic device.

To be prosecuted, the behavior must be committee in the presence of or within view of a peace officer or established by other evidence.

This does not apply to an operator of a vehicle using a hand-held portable electronic device:

1. While the vehicle is parked or is being driven on private property;
2. With a hand-free wireless communication device;
3. If the operator is a law enforcement officer, firefighter, member of a governmental emergency medical services function, or member of a governmental emergency management function, and the operator is using the device to conduct official business related to the position or;
4. Who is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission while operating a radio frequency device, other than a hand-held portable electronic device; or an operator using a two-way radio communication

It is a defense to prosecution if the driver of a motor vehicle or bicycle was using a hand-held portable electronic device for the purpose of:

1. Reporting illegal activity to a law enforcement agency;
2. Communicating with an emergency response operator, a fire department, a law enforcement agency, a hospital, a physician’s office, or a health clinic regarding a medical or other emergency situation; or
3. In the reasonable belief that a person’s life or safety is in immediate danger.

It is also a defense to prosecution if the operator used the hand-held portable electronic device:

1. In conjunction with a hands-free device as defined by Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.425 such as a speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the motor vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator’s hands.
2. To navigate a global positioning system or navigation system;
3. To report illegal activity, summon emergency help, or enter information into a software application that provides information relating to traffic and road conditions to users of the application;
An offense under this section in not a moving violation and may not be made a part of a person’s driving record or insurance record.

“Operating a vehicle” means a vehicle that is moving, stopped or standing on a public street, highway, or right-of-way, unless it is parked.

“Park or parked” means for the operator to completely cease movement of a vehicle in a lawful manner and location.

“Stop or stopped” means for the operator to completely cease movement of a vehicle while in traffic due to a traffic control device, roadway conditions, or existing traffic congestion.

For more information, call the Kerrville Police Department at 830-257-8181.