SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Another Central Texas is banning the use of cellphones while driving. Beginning Feb. 1, 2016, San Marcos will start enforcing hands-free driving.
The San Marcos City Council passed the hands-free ordinance on Tuesday. While the enforcement starts in February, police will allow for a one-month grace period where violators will only be issued a warning. Officers will begin issuing citations March 1.
The new law allows drivers to use handheld devices when a vehicle is at a complete stop or when a device is being used to contact emergency responders or police.
The new law prohibits:
- Dialing, hanging up, or engaging in a telephone conversation;
- Viewing, taking, or transmitting electronic images;
- Using email;
- Using GPS or other navigation applications;
- Browsing the Internet;
- Playing games
- Typing, reading, or sending text messages
Making telephone calls using hands-free functions is allowed, as is using GPS and navigation devices that are attached to the vehicle.
The penalty for violating the ordinance is a fine of up to $100 for a first offense; up to $250 for a second offense; and up to $500 for third and subsequent offenses.
Once San Marcos becomes hands-free, the drive between Austin and San Antonio along IH-35 will basically go through cities that all have hands-free ordinances in place.