Arlington taking texting off the road for good

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    Starting in November, people driving through the city of Arlington could get pulled over for texting.

    The city council passed an ordinance banning texting while driving on Sept. 13, according to city council minutes. Some members of the TCU community commute from Arlington on a daily basis. 

    Senior biology major Joshua Kershner commutes from Arlington to TCU and often uses his phone while driving.

    The safety of texting and driving depends on frequency, Kershner said.

    “If you are just looking real quick and then you send a quick reply or you wait until you are at a stop sign or stoplight to send a reply, then it is not that bad,” he said.

    Arlington city limits encompass sections of both Interstate 30 and Interstate 20. The two main highways that help people travel around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

    According to the ordinance, the fine for texting and driving could be as much as $200.

    Sophomore finance major Jeff Tushaus said a fine of $200 is a lot of money, and he would definitely stop texting.

    According to the ordinance, before enforcement begins, the city would provide an education program for the community.

    Kershner knew people who rear-ended someone while texting because they were distracted and said enforcement could help with the safety of drivers. People will not stop texting, but might hold the phone below the window where it can not be seen, he said.

    “I don’t think they will stop, it is just too convenient,” Kershner said.

    According to the Arlington ordinance, a driver is considered to commit the offense if reading, sending, writing a text, viewing pictures or playing a game while operating a motor vehicle.

    Kershner said the new ordinance could affect him because he regularly checks e-mails during his commute.

    “If you are just driving along and trying to check your e-mail real quick before you get here and all of a sudden you get pulled over, then you are late to class,” he said.

    The ordinance does exclude public safety personnel on duty.

    Tushaus said public safety personnel should not be allowed to use cell phones while driving.

    “They are citizens. They are still driving a car and they could easily hit someone too,” he said. “I think they should absolutely be held under the same rules.”

    The citation is not a moving violation and may not be included in a person’s driving record.

    According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Texas state laws currently prohibit cell phone use in school zones, for drivers less than 18 years old and school bus drivers transporting children 17 years and younger.