El Paso Police Issue Clarification On Cell Phone Ban

Police Hope To Clear Confusion On Ordinance

EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso Police Department is trying to clarify any confusion about wireless devices stemming from the cell phone ban recently passed by City Council.

According to El Paso Police, you can use your wireless communication device while stopped and off of the roadway. You can also use it if it is integrated with or attached to the vehicle.

In addition, all wireless devices must be used solely in "voice-activated" or "hands-free" mode while driving.

El Paso Police say even the "temporary or brief use of a hand-held wireless communication device is generally unacceptable and can result in a citation." They add drivers who use hands-free devices can still get a citation if it is determined the driver becomes distracted or is operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner.

The bottom line, according to police: If you hold your cell phone while driving or use a hands-free device in an unsafe manner, you may be ticketed by police.

(Original story follows below)


The confusion continues over El Paso's new cell phone ordinance that bans the use of the phones while driving.

Now, even city officials agree the wording of the ordinance needs to be looked at. As the law stands, a police officer has the discretion on whether a driver gets a ticket despite the use of a hands free-device.

The driver will then have to prove to a judge and not the officer that they were using the hands-free device. If the judge buys it, you're off the hook.

El Pasoans say the law isn't only confusing but also counter-productive.

El Pasoan Loni Rodriguez said, "it doesn't make sense and it's a waste of time to have to get a ticket go to court and get it dropped after explaining to the judge that you had a blue tooth."

Initially, many people in El Paso thought the use of a hand free device meant you're in the clear. However, police say that isn't necessarily true.

City Rep. Rachel Quintana, who spearheaded the new ban ordinance, says she expects all the kinks to be ironed out soon.

"I'm looking at about a week before the ordinance is concrete with PD," she said.

The ban came with a 30 day grace period to get everyone used to the new law. Tickets for being on the phone while driving won't begin to be written until the first of May.

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