The Austin, Texas, City Council has approved a law banning the use of hand-held cellphones and many other portable electronic devices while driving.
The Austin American-Statesman reports the City Council approved the law on Aug. 28. It takes effect Jan. 1.
Police will be able to cite motorists and bicyclists caught chatting, texting or tapping on smartphone applications while moving. Drivers stuck in traffic or at stoplights will be allowed to make a quick call or pick up their phone as long as their vehicle is at a stop.
The law doesn’t apply to the use of hands-free devices, two-way radios and emergency communications.
Assistant Police Chief Brian Manley says police will issue warnings for a limited time before issuing citations.
This expands an ordinance passed in 2009 banning texting while driving.
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