A new year means new resolutions. How about resolving to drive hands-free? Austin passed a groundbreaking city ordinance in August 2014 that prohibits the use of portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle. This hands-free law goes into effect on January 1, 2015.
Austin was the first city in Texas to enact a citywide ban for texting while driving in 2009. In 2010, El Paso was the first to prohibit the use of electronic devices while driving. With Austin and San Antonio continuing the effort against distracted driving, this initiative could inspire other cities in Texas to follow suit. Check out Aceable’s tips to prepare yourself and avoid getting a ticket.
Driving can be pretty boring, especially when you’re sitting in traffic during rush hour. Talking on the phone ends up becoming part of your morning commute. With Austin’s hands-free law, that might be an issue for you. Here at Aceable, we’ve purchased some hands-free tools such as a Bluetooth headset to make and answer calls.
Other devices you can use are a mounted GPS, a mounted phone dock, and headphones. All of these will allow you to use your electronics while reducing your distraction while driving.
Check out some great bluetooth options from our favorite tech review site.
PULL OVER TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
What if you’re someone who gets lost while driving? Maybe you aren’t familiar with the roads here. Operating a GPS device while the car is moving is not allowed, but you can definitely punch an address into your GPS when you are at a complete stop.
This is not just limited to your GPS. If you absolutely must send a text or call someone, do this when your car is stopped or parked somewhere.
YES, BICYCLISTS. THIS INCLUDES YOU TOO.
Cyclists can get distracted too. One of our resident bike riders at Aceable, Josh, says “I’ll have to be more careful but I’m excited about the ban.”
As someone who bikes to work and writes about driver safety, I’ve observed the effects of distracted driving firsthand and read the research. I know I shouldn’t be using my cell phone while cycling anyways, and will happily give up ‘Facebooking and Riding’ if it means I no longer have to worry about inconsiderate drivers paying attention when they turn right (look out for cyclists). I’ll just make sure I choose my Spotify playlist before I start pedaling, and pull off to the side if I need to check out my route. That’s a small price to pay for safety, something that all Austin cyclists worry about.”
Texting or calling while driving might not be a big deal, but it’s not fun when you get a ticket. It might be even less fun to take defensive driving. If you do get a ticket, Aceable Defensive Driving has you covered. We’re fun, easy, and painless.
From Aceable to you, we wish you a happy new year full of peaceful drives, no tickets, and no accidents!