Amarillo Police to begin writing citations for talking while driving

In 2011 more than 400 deaths were caused by distracted driving, thatâ??s according to TxDOT.

Bringing in the New Year, it's the city commission's hope that a ban on cell phone use will help bring that number down.

The City of Amarillo joined the National, One Text or Call Could Wreck It All, campaign because officials say the risk of texting and driving are just too high.

In fact, cell phone use combines three types of distractions, visual, manual and cognitive.

Starting January 3, 2013 those within the city limits of Amarillo are banned from using a handheld cellphone while operating a motor vehicle.

TxDOT said distracted driving ranks in the top three causes of fatalities in Amarillo last year.

People like Megan and Erica said that this ordinance is something that is needed.

"We've known some people that have been hurt and killed because of distractive driving," said Megan Amarillo Resident.

The new city ordinance is part of an Amarillo goal, to save lives by getting drivers to remember that, One Text or Call Can Wreck It All.

"I think it'll be difficult because it's such a habit, I mean how many times a day do you check your phone?" said Megan. "But I think it would be a good thing for people to start doing just because we have a social responsibility to everybody else on the road."

According to distracted it was found that talking or even listening on a phone increases the risk of an accident by nearly 1.5 times and texting would increase your risk by 23 times.

With such astounding numbers the city is asking for support by keeping your hands on the wheel and to instead use a hands-free device when needed.

"A blue tooth would definitely help fix that, I think that it's more of the hands off the wheel," said Megan.

"I think that's a good step up from having to handle the wheel, and hold your phone up there. I think thatâ??s helpful," said Erica.

"I feel like the accidents are going to get less because people wonâ??t be as distracted, and they'll be more concentrated on the road," said Steven Nguyen Amarillo Resident.

While there are still many questions on how the ordinance will be enforced, those we spoke with say they believe that the ban will slowly, but surely be effective.

"No matter what law comes out there is always going to be people who break it and even if they're told, you canâ??t do it, they're still going to do it," said Nguyen. "But I feel like, I mean, the more people, the more money you get a ticket for, they'll kind of realize, hey! I should stop this."

While the ban does go into effect on the third, it's not until February 2, 2013 that police will begin issuing the 200 dollar citation.

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