City asks for public input regarding phone ban

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

UPDATE: A public hearing is set for 5:00PM Tuesday (tonight) at City Hall. The council could, if they choose, vote on the issue. WSFA 12 News is planning to cover the event.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - If you own a cell phone, you're probably guilty of using it while at the wheel.

Portable communication is now a way of life for most people.  City leaders want to change that, turning back the clock to bring safety to city streets.

Councilman Tracy Larkin originally sponsored an anti-texting ordinance, which allowed voice conversations on cellular phones.

After talking to law enforcement officials, he found banning one practice without the other would be difficult.

"They suggested the only way to really approach this, realistically, is to ban the use of handheld devices," Larkin explained.

If the new version is adopted, any use of handheld wireless communications devices by the public, except for CB radios and "walkie talkies, would be illegal.

Getting caught could net lawbreakers a $50 fine and up to ten days in jail on the first offense.

"I think that if most people were honest with themselves, they would see that this is, at the highest rank, a public safety issue," Larkin explained.

While some drivers admit to using a phone in the car, they still think a ban would be a good idea.

"We're having a lot of accidents that's going around, especially during the holiday season, so I'm all for it," Said Jeffery Granville of Montgomery.

Other drivers say phones should never have been allowed in the first place.

"People's lives are involved.  I mean, you shouldn't use cell phones driving. Pull over if it's so important," advised Frances Crosby of Montgomery.

Still, leaders want to hear what residents think before they make the vote and take the road less traveled.

"...because it is such a pervasive and important issue to so many people," Larkin added.

The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 6th.  It's built into the City Council meeting set for 5:00PM.

To view the proposed ordinance banning handheld wireless communications devices while driving, click here.

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