7 Things About the New Hands-Free Law in Austin & San Antonio
- January 5th, 2015
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There are some big changes coming to Austin and San Antonio next month. According to the new hands-free Law, using a cell phone or other electronics while driving or biking will now be considered breaking the law. In preparation for the new law, Austin and San Antonio residents have been stocking up on Bluetooth and hands-free devices, leaving store shelves empty and Bluetooth related products in higher demand than usual. People have voiced concerns over what is legal and what is not, so hopefully this list will help clear the air.
1. This law has already been in place in San Antonio and Austin, it’s just easier to enforce now.
The loophole with the old law was that it allowed drivers to say they were making a call instead of texting. That will no longer work under the new law.
2. You have until January 31st to get your car Bluetooth-ready.
The hands-free ordinance doesn’t go into effect until January 31st, but officers are currently issuing warnings to let people know about the new law. Austin and San Antonio police officers will start handing out fines in February if they catch you on your phone, which could total up to $500!
3. Campus and school district officers can issue these tickets as well.
Any campus or school district officer authorized by the city can issue these hands-free tickets.
4. You can still use your smartphone for navigation, kind of.
It’s ok if you still want to use your phone to help you navigate city streets, but ONLY if your phone is affixed to your vehicle.
5. You don’t have to be driving in order to get a ticket.
Whether you’re stuck in traffic, at a stoplight, or even stopped at a stop sign, you will STILL get a ticket for using your phone.
6. Pull over if it’s important.
You can ONLY use your phone if you are legally parked. If the car is in “Drive,” you WILL get a ticket.
7. Trucker’s won’t be affected.
Ham radio operators will not be affected by this law, but most truckers already have Bluetooth headsets for both phones and CB radios.