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.
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.