San Marcos police begin issuing citations for hands free violations

San Marcos is reminding drivers that police officers began issuing citations on March 1 for those who are caught using a cell phone or other handheld device while driving a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle in San Marcos.

Signs have been placed around the city since January urging people to use hands-free devices while on the road.

The hands-free ordinance was passed back in November 2015. It went into effect on February 1, 2016 with a one-month grace period in which only warnings were issued for violators.

The new law prohibits the following while biking or driving:

  • Dialing, hanging up, or engaging in a telephone conversation
  • Viewing, taking, or transmitting electronic images
  • Using email
  • Using GPS or other navigation applications
  • Browsing the Internet
  • Playing games
  • Typing, reading, or sending text messages

Making telephone calls using hands-free functions is allowed, as is using GPS and 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; up to $250 for a second offense; and up to $500 for third and subsequent offenses.

Information about the ordinance is available online at www.sanmarcostx.gov/handsfree.

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