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‘Hands free’ ordinance set to take effect March 20 in Sugar Land


SUGAR LAND – The city council has made texting or talking on the phone while driving punishable by up to a $500 fine and it will take effect on Monday, March 20, 2017
City council passed 5-2 an ordinance on Feb. 21 that banned the use of any portable electronic device while driving. Devices include cell phones, laptops and hand-held music players. Exemptions to the ordinance include using the device in hands-free mode or to call an emergency number.
The ordinance makes Sugar Land the first city in Fort Bend County to ban portable electronic device use while driving, a fact council members
Missouri City city council already has enacted a ban on texting while driving. Several bills banning texting while driving have been filed this legislative session. Sugar Land’s bill is more comprehensive than those of the Legislature, which only prohibit texting while driving.
Bills addressing portable electronic device use while driving bills been filed in the Legislature in previous sessions, but were never passed.
Forty-six states have some kind of laws regulating portable electronic device use while driving.
The ordinance has been in the works since 2016. Police department staff held workshop sessions with city council to consider implementing such an ordinance in May and December of 2016. A first reading of the ordinance passed 5-2 on Feb. 7.
Drivers will be issued a warning during a grace period over the first 90 days. (Patch.com)

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