Bismarck, ND considering texting ban

The city of Bismarck, ND, is looking at ways to make the roads safer.  Among the idea: banning texting while driving, or the use of cell phones while driving altogether. 

For Commissioner Josh Askvig, the solution is to ban the hand-held use of cell phones while driving. 

“I think the intent is to improve safety while driving,” Askvig said. “I’ve had a number of conversations about this ordinance. I talked to a couple of officers and they shared concern about enforcement.”

Commissioner Parrell Grossman disagrees with a hands-free only law.

“I’m concerned it will get this ordinance bogged down,” he said. “I think citizens will get we are banning the use of cell phones. I would like something to pass that would meet some level of public approval. 

Another Commissioner, Mike Seminary, had an original idea.  He suggests that police officers confiscate the phone of drivers caught texting while driving.

“The distractions in the automobile today are far more significant than when we took our driver license tests,” he said.  “There are a myriad of ways we can be distracted. There are countless ways we are at risk.”

The Commissioners not only disagree on how to ban texting while driving, they also disagree on the fine.  In the proposed ordinance, such behavior would result in a $50 fine.  Some say it isn’t enough.

“I believe there should be a little fear, if you are going to continue the habit,” said Commissioner Mike Seminary.

Commissioners are holding a public hearing on October 26 to listen to what the public has to say regarding the ban.

Source: The Bismarck Tribune, October 12, 2010

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