El Paso PD to Ticket Distracted Drivers, Enforce City Cellphone Ban
As often as we’re all on the road, it’s a safe assumption you’ve seen El Pasoans do some crazy, unbelievable stuff while driving.
Well then this bit of news should make you feel a tad safer: this month El Paso police will be keeping an eye out for those steering with their knees while taking a selfie at 65 miles and hour with kids in the back seat. (Yes, I’ve saw that with my own eyes once!)
Every month, the police department focuses on a specific traffic law that they then make a concerted effort to enforce. This month it’s distracted driving.
From now through January 31, 2017, patrol officers will be on the lookout for distracted drivers, which includes but is not limited to people texting or talking on their phone while operating a vehicle.
The idea is to cut down on accidents, which are often caused by drivers paying more attention to everything but the road in front of them.
City Council passed an ordinance in April of 2010 prohibiting the use of cellular phones while driving, but the ban has been largely ignored by most drivers.
Per the ordinance, you cannot use a hand-held wireless communication device in your car except when stopped and off of the roadway, unless the device is “hands-free.” In other words, if you hold your cell phone while driving — even at a red light — you risk getting pulled over.
Fines for driving while using a cell phone are $116.00 per offense.
Other forms of distracted driving that may get you cited include putting on makeup, eating or drinking, watching a video, using GPS, and reading.
Last year, EPPD issued 10,854 citations for offenses related to distracted driving, according to a city press release.