Texting and Driving Ban Passed in Midland

Texting and Driving Ban Passed in Midland

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Drivers in the city of Midland have a new law to follow. A texting and driving ban was passed by the city council Tuesday morning.  Within Midland city limits, drivers can no longer view, send, or type a text message. They also cannot surf the web or use apps. They can however talk on the phone and use GPS navigation. Before the historic decision came down, Midlanders confronted the city council with their thoughts.

"I want to point out the important issue is that, how can an officer from another vehicle tell if a person is dialing a phone number or texting," said Nelson Spear, a Midland resident who is against the texting and driving ban. 
"I see it all the time and if I see it all the time a police officer is going to be able to recognize it," said Scott Dufford, Midland City Councilman.

That was just one of many big issues brought to light by those against the texting and driving ban. How will law enforcement determine what the driver is using his or her phone for?

"Again, it's like any other law. If you want to dispute it and you feel like the officer is in the wrong then you'll go to court and you'll get in front of the judge and we'll look at video. If you can at that point put your phone forward and can say 'you can see that there was no texting history' then you're clear and free," said Mayor of Midland, Jerry Morales.

The texting and driving ban isn't just for cell phones though. It also is for tablets and laptops.

"The enforcement, it is going to be a challenge but it's like any other law. It's a challenge. My reasoning for more specifically on the texting, the distracted laws are not distinct enough where texting we focus on that phone in your hand and your heads down," said Morales.

If caught you could be slapped with a $500 fine. One opposing resident says the fear of that wont help stop texting and driving.

"With these types of statues sometimes the crashes actually increase because to avoid detection people instead of texting up here in front of their face they may be holding their phones down here and texting out of view of the other drivers," said Spear.

The city of Midland hopes surrounding cities will soon follow in their footsteps.

"Your life is important to me and I want to protect it and that's what I'm doing today," said Morales.

According to the city, Midland is the 41st city in the state of Texas to enact a texting and driving ban. It will go into effect on October 1st.