How the Cell Phone Ban came to be

The cell phone ordinance has been in effect for almost three weeks now. Yet residents still question why there is even a cell phone ban?

At the City Commissioner meeting Wednesday afternoon, commissioners discussed a handful of issues including the cell phone ban. While the cell phone ban was not on the day's agenda, it was still brought to the attention of commissioners.

City Commissioner Ellen Robertson Green remembers how talks of a cell phone ban first came to be. She states that she was Chair of the first sub-committee of a traffic commission that studied a cell phone texting and hand-held ban for just the school districts of Amarillo. This was back in September of 2010.

"In Amarillo it takes 10 or 15 minutes to get everywhere. A text can wait," said Green. "A text can wait that long."

From this, things turned into the idea of what should be done for the entire city. The City Commissioner asked Traffic Commission about what could be done about the issue. Green states that they met and studied the issue for several months and had four public hearings. Then they brought a request to have a hand-held ban.

"The people at the city wanted to do their homework," said Green. "We have been looking at this for 2 ½ years. We've been studying the issue. We've been seeing the best way to create an ordinance that police can enforce."