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Austin Orders Drivers and Cyclists to Go Hands Free in 2015

Posted by Brian K. Tillman on 7 January 2015

Well Austin, the day has finally come! On January 1st, 2015 the city’s new hands free law took effect, and now the use of all handheld devices is prohibited while driving a car or a bike. That’s right, bikes too, you one-handed cyclists shouting at SIRI over the noise of the wind. And trucks. Of course you joggers and skateboarders are still free to text all you want for now, God save us all.

A cynical person (say, someone from somplace else) may view it as a ploy to collect some cashola from the hordes of “outsiders” who drive up in our city, eating our barbeque and shopping for those “high-density” downtown condominiums. Clutching their new dinner plate sized iPhones to their faces, they can’t even see you in the side mirror, who let them in? Let them pay, with their California plates, their spunky little BMWs, and funny accents. Some of their schools don’t even have football teams.

More likely the net will catch locals who either haven’t heard about it (sorry, now you have no excuse) or are just so programmed that they can’t un-text/email/jabber in the car. Why I donated to the city twice after the seatbelt law passed, and it wasn’t even so long ago. I still see plenty of coffee cups and breakfast tacos, and still to this day the mascara pens! Inching down the road with the sun visor down and sticking a dirty pipe cleaner at your eyeball? How could this go wrong? But alas, not against the law…

But it is ALL handheld electronics. So no iPad, music thingies, your Simon Says game, and no more of those great photos from a moving car. There will be a grace period in effect (now) through the rest of January, and only warnings will be issued. Come February, it’s on, and the fees can go up to $500. So get your blueteeth and whatnot, because the party is officially over. Couldn’t have come fast enough!!


Austin Hands Free Driving Law

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