As expected, at Tuesday's City Council meeting, they approved a new city ordinance that restricts the handling of cell phones while driving.
Now, drivers will face big fines if they are caught driving while using their phones without a hands-free device.
Kiii News Reporter Brian Burns went Live from the intersection of Ayers and SPID with the details.
The ordinance takes effect immediately, and police will be issuing warnings to drivers seen handling their phones while driving over the next thirty days. After that, those warnings will be replaced by big fines.
Tuesday was the second reading of the ordinance, which was created to combat the high number of fatal accidents and hit-and-runs in the city over the past few years. The ordinance is aimed at getting cell phone users to stop looking at their phones while driving so they can avoid those accidents.
The City is giving drivers some time to get used to the new ordinance.
"We'll institute a 30-day grace period whereby we'll be issuing warnings," said Chief Floyd Simpson of the Corpus Christi Police Department. "Also, during those 30 days, we're embarking on a public information campaign informing the public about the new ordinance; the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving -- we've all seen it -- and just giving people the opportunity to go hands-free."
The new ordinance does allow people to make emergency calls and won't affect anyone in a parked car who is not in a lane of traffic. Chief Simpson said 22 cities in the state, with San Antonio being the largest, have already instituted similar ordinances.
After 30 days, drivers will face fines of up to $500.
Several retailers have said that sales have been up on hands-free devices over the past couple of weeks, in anticipation of the new ordinance.
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