Lakeway police will enforce hands-free ordinance starting July 1st

Warnings will turn into tickets starting soon for drivers violating Lakeway's hands-free ordinance.

In April the Lakeway city council voted to prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones and other mobile devices while driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle.

"Officers will be looking for people with their phones in their hands manipulating the phone because that is what takes eyes off the roads," said Captain Ken Farr with the Lakeway Police Department.

"Our goal is to issue no citations and get 100 percent compliance. Will that happen? No. We will probably encounter folks on the roadway," said Farr. Farr and other officers see distracted drivers around Lakeway especially on FM 620 where the speed limit is higher.

"Even a couple of seconds and you could be 100 feet down the roadway so it's vitally important that your attention is focused on what's in front of you," said Farr.

Some Lakeway residents welcome the enforcement and say they see it all too often.

"I even see people on bicycles texting so it's gotten out of control," said Dayna Mosier. Mosier says her friend was hit by a distracted driver and still deals with his injuries.

"I think it's good. People need to focus more on driving and less on Facebook and text messages," said Andrew Nastiuk who already uses a hands-free device.

Lakeway's ordinance mimics the city of Austin's. Since APD started enforcing the ordinance on February 1st, officers have issued 2,344 citations.

Farr says it's too early to know what citation numbers will look like but he knows there are drivers out there breaking the new rule.

"I think it's going to be a huge awakening. It's part of the lifestyle out here. People have small businesses and they check their phones waiting for the next client but if we all change it can be the new normal," said Mosier.

There are exceptions for first responders and if a driver is in an emergency situation.

A first time offender can expect a ticket around $100 dollars.

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