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Texting and driving ordinance fails at Abilene council meeting

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ABILENE, Texas - Abilene City Council members have voted against enacting a texting and driving ban within the city.

The proposed ordinance, presented by Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge, would have banned the practice of most written electronic communication while driving.

"I don't think I was necessarily surprised by the defeat of the proposed ordinance," Standridge said. "But I personally and professionally would like to have seen us do something in the interim until the state ultimately adopts state legislation."

The wording in the ordinance, however, did allow for the use of other mobile apps while driving.

Mayor Norm Archibald and councilman Kyle McAlister were the only two votes in favor of enacting the ban.

"Why did I vote for the Ban?" McAlister said. "Because I think it was needed and I think the vast majority of Abilenians wanted it."

Councilman Bruce Kreitler voted no because he thinks the city should educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving rather than pass an ordinance.

"I don't think the city ordinance would have been effective," Krietler said. "We are just going to have to educate and convince drivers to not text and drive."

Councilman Anthony Williams believes something needs to be done to stop texting while driving, but said enacting an ordinance would not be the most effective thing to do.

He also said that if an ordinance was put into place, time would be taken away form Abilene's already overworked police department.

"Crime in Abilene ... up 7.6 percent over the last two years. I thought using our officers in that way would not be the best and would not allow them to concentrate on other crime in our community," Williams said.

Many councilman who voted against the ordinance said they would rather have a way to educate drivers about the dangers of texting and driving.

"There are a few state ordinances but none of them are the same," Williams said

They also said they would like to see a uniformed law from the state legislation come down, rather than tackle the problem on the local level.

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