Austin business gets equipped to go ‘hands-free’

The Enchanted Florist

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Austin drivers try to break the habit of picking up the phone in the car, local businesses are trying to get on board with Austin’s new cellphone ban that goes into effect Thursday.

Enchanted Florist on Lavaca Street is making arrangements to go hands-free.

“It kind of snuck up on us because we’ve been so busy,” said employee Nick Allison. The flower shop is in the process of ordering mounted GPS navigation units for all three delivery vans.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Texting while driving

Austin police officers have issued more than 1,600 citations to people texting while driving since the law was passed in Jan. 2010.

  • 2010: 116 citations
  • 2011: 224 citations
  • 2012: 244 citations
  • 2013: 366 citations
  • 2014: 683 (as of Dec. 30)

Source: City of Austin Municipal Court

Drivers like Mark Tonuceei won’t have to reach for their phone behind the wheel to see where they’re going. That is just fine with him.

“I hate driving by people on the highway and they’re looking at their phone,” he said.

For a small business, the new hands-free technology is an added expense.

“We’re trying to find the best price, best bang for the buck,” said Allison. Enchanted Florist is looking at spending about $600 total.

The Austin Police Department recently sent out online training to all officers which included a four-question quiz to get them ready to enforce the new ordinance.

For drivers, the city will be posting signs around town to serve as a reminder. A transportation spokesperson told KXAN they can’t put the signs up until after Jan. 1, and probably won’t be putting them up until next week due to the bad weather in the forecast.

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