UTSA Police Department to enforce city's new no-texting-while-driving ban

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(Nov. 5, 2010)--The UTSA Police Department will enforce the newly enacted no-texting-while-driving ban that went into effect Oct. 15 in San Antonio.

The San Antonio City Council voted unanimously Thursday, Oct. 7 to adopt the ban on texting while driving. With the law in effect as of Oct. 15, warnings will be given on San Antonio and UTSA streets for the first 90 days with fines of up to $200 after that.

"UTSA police officers will enforce this new city ordinance, so we ask for the cooperation of UTSA community members as you drive on campus and in the city," said UTSA Police Chief Steve Barrera. "Our goal is always to help ensure safety, as we also observe city laws."

The new San Antonio ordinance prohibits using a "hand-held mobile communication device to send, read or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by Internet or other electronic means, engage in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle."

San Antonio is the third major city in the state to adopt such a ban. El Paso and Austin prohibit the act, as do several smaller cities across Texas. Across the country, 30 states have prohibitions against texting while driving, according to city research.

Additionally, two Texas House bills on hand-held devices became effective Sept. 1. The Legislature gave final approval to the bills May 29 and the governor signed them into law June 19:

  • Texas House bill 55 outlaws use of hand-held devices in school crossing zones. The law prohibits cell phone use by passenger bus drivers transporting minors unless the bus is stopped.
  • Texas House bill 339 prohibits drivers under age 17 with restricted licenses from using wireless communication devices including cell phones and text-messaging devices.