GRAND PRAIRIE – Starting Sept. 1, 2013, texting and driving in Grand Prairie will be illegal and can result in a fine up to $200. The Grand Prairie City Council passed an ordinance so declaring at the Aug. 20, 2013, City Council meeting. No text is worth the risk. It can wait.
"When the state did not pass such a law in the last session, we felt it important for the safety of our streets and drivers to move forward with such a law in Grand Prairie," said Chief of Police Steve Dye.
"The school district is totally behind this new law, especially after two of our school buses were hit by drivers who were texting," said Grand Prairie Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Hull.
The city and school district are installing warning signage at the exits to all parking lots at the four high schools in town this week.
According to the ordinance, a person commits an offense if the person:
- Uses a wireless communication device to send, read, or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by Internet or other electronic means, or
- Engages in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers to talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle.
- Use while vehicle is stopped, out of moving lanes of the roadway (this means driver must pull off road and park in a safe place like a parking lot);
- Strictly to engage in a telephone conversation, including dialing or deactivating the call;
- As a global positioning or navigation device, if affixed to the vehicle;
- To communicate with a emergency response operator, fire department, law enforcement agency, hospital, physician's office or health clinic regarding a medical or other emergency to prevent injury to a person or property;
- In the reasonable belief that a person's life or safety is in immediate danger; or
- Solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode.
An offense under this ordinance is not a moving violation and may not be made part of a person's driving record or insurance record.
While texting and driving may seem innocent to many, the statistics prove otherwise:
- The minimum amount of time your attention is taken away from the road when texting and driving is five seconds.
- At 55 miles per hours, this equals driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
- Text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely vs three times more likely if dialing, 1.4 times more likely if reaching for device; and 1.3 times more likely if talking or listening.
- Teens who text while driving spend 10 percent of their driving time outside of their lane.
The Grand Prairie Police Department and Grand Prairie Independent School District, along with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), cell phone providers and insurance companies, are united in the battle against texting while driving. This avoidable driving distraction causes injuries, deaths and untold amounts of property damage each year. Texting and driving is not only against the law, but it hurts us all!