San Marcos prepares to go hands-free on Feb. 1

Hands-free ordinance signs go up in San Marcos (City of San Marcos photo)
Hands-free ordinance signs go up in San Marcos (City of San Marcos photo)

SAN MARCOS (KXAN) — The city of San Marcos has put up signs reminding drivers of its upcoming hands-free ordinance.

Beginning Feb. 1, drivers will no longer be able to use a cell phone or other handheld device while driving a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle. An exception is made for phones with a hands-free mode.

Signs waiting to go up in San Marcos (City of San Marcos photo)
Signs waiting to go up in San Marcos (City of San Marcos photo)

The city says the new law does not prohibit using handheld devices when you’re at a complete stop or when it’s being used to call 911 or emergency responders.

The San Marcos City Council passed the ordinance in November 2015. The month of February will be a one-month grace period in which violators will be issued warnings instead of tickets.

The new law prohibits the following while biking or driving:

  • Dialing, hanging up or talking on the phone
  • Viewing, taking or sending photos
  • Using email
  • Using GPS or other navigation applications
  • Browsing the internet
  • Playing games
  • Typing, reading or sending text messages

Additional exceptions are made for telephone calls made using hands-free functions and GPS/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, followed by $250 for a second offense and up to $500 for a third and subsequent offenses.

Information on the ordinance can be found on the city of San Marcos website.

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