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Mr. Padilla was named a Texas Super Lawyer (Rising Star)(2006) by Thompson Reuters as seen in Texas Monthly Magazine
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Mr. Padilla was named a Texas Super Lawyer (Rising Star)(2006) by Thompson Reuters as seen in Texas Monthly Magazine

New Sugar Land Ordinance Limits Cell Phone Use While Driving to Hands-Free Devices Only

The Sugar Land City Council recently voted to approve a new ordinance that would make it illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless the driver is using a hands-free or Bluetooth device.

The move comes after a year of asking its residents for their feedback on the proposed ordinance. Out of those who responded to the call for comments, a majority stated that they would be in favor of the limitation.

The ordinance would require drivers to place their mobile phones face down or in a stand within the vehicle. The ordinance would still allow drivers to use their phones while stopped at a light or sign, but once the vehicle begins to move the phone would need to be placed out of the driver’s hands.

The new ordinance is set to take effect on March 20, 2017.

The ordinance mirrors those already imposed in other Texas cities, such as Austin and San Antonio. Police in San Antonio stated that they issued 11,055 citations in 2015, the first year the ordinance was implemented. That number increased to 12,743 in 2016.

The National Safety Council reports that 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by cell phone use while driving. Overall, cell phone use while driving causes approximately 1.6 million accidents per year. Texting while driving is the most dangerous activity, leading to a risk of crashing nearly six-times greater than the risk of an accident while drunk driving.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a distracted driver, contact an attorney at Padilla & Rodriguez by calling (713) 574-4600.

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*John M. Padilla is licensed in Texas and California. The firm's other attorneys are licensed in Texas.

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