There’s a new ordinance in San Benito. It’s officially known as Ordinance 2539. But some may know it as a ban on texting and driving. It was approved this week by the city commission to promote safety. We find that accidents while on phones are on the rise.
Chief Michael Galvan – San Benito Police Department says, “The cause being distracted driving is going up higher than DWI’s.”
It does not matter if you’re looking for that perfect song or you’re looking on the one spot on the map. As long as you are you are using your phone, it counts as distracted driving.
Chief Galvan says, “We had some people argue, ‘I’m doing something on Facebook,’ that’s texting. If you are communicating whether you are using a specific app or not, that’s not the point.”
So what do you do if there’s an important phone call or text you cannot miss. The best thing you can do is park at an empty parking lot or the side of the road. Make sure your vehicle is not moving, then you can pull out your phone.
“Between now and then we can stop people advise them, let them know, without them being cited. After those 90 days they will be cited.” Said Chief Galvan.
Citations can run from $100 to $500.
But what about police officers or government vehicles? Can they text and drive?
Chief Galvan says, “For whatever reason they need to contact dispatch or there is too much traffic, those would be the exceptions to the rule. But other than that they shouldn’t be doing that.”
In short, if you must text while driving, pull over before you get pulled over.
The ordinance was unanimously approved by city commissioners. Although the city of San Benito recently adopted this ordinance, other valley cities have a ban on texting on driving as well.