Montgomery City Council tables phone ban idea

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

Updated by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery City Council delayed a vote on a proposal to ban the use of handheld electronic devices while driving.

That decision comes after a public hearing, where residents commented on the proposal.

Voicing concern and praise surrounding the ban, residents hashed out the details of the ordinance, with the full attention of the City Council.

"I don't think the advancement of technology is a good enough reason to compromise safety," said one woman.

The talk comes after weeks of work--and briefings discussing the dangers of distracted driving.

City Council members moved to table the vote, looking for ways to adjust the law.  Still, sponsor Tracy Larkin stands by the measure.

"The whole point is to prevent accidents, not to wait until somebody has one, and say, 'We're going to charge you another $500 because you were using your cell phone,'" Larkin said.

Concerns do linger.  Some residents worry the ban is too restrictive.

"What is the purpose of my having--buying a cell phone--or being able to text and do the iPod and all the other things that they've brought forth if I can't use it?" asked K.T. Brown of Montgomery.

Others say the council should work quickly.

"Some of the council isn't giving people of Montgomery credit. They're saying, 'They're not going to take it. The people of Montgomery don't want this.' But everybody wants to be safe," said Duncan Kirkwood, the chief of staff for District Three.

That's a message Larkin hopes will give the proposal the push it needs.

"Hopefully, by the next meeting, we'll have a refashioned document that will be acceptable to everyone," Larkin said.

Council members will discuss the ordinance, make any necessary changes, and bring it up again on July 20th.

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

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