Posted: Oct 23, 2012 6:22 AM by Cristy Aranguiz - KPAX News
Updated: Oct 23, 2012 9:34 AM
MISSOULA- Missoula is one of the few major Montana cities that doesn't have a ban on using cell phones while driving, but based on some of the public opinion voiced during Monday evening's city council meeting, that could soon change.
The ordinance would not let people us phones while behind the wheel, unless the person in reporting an emergency, is an emergency responder or if the vehicle is parked.
The Missoula City Council tried to pass a ban in 2009, but the ordinance was vetoed by Mayor John Engen.
Councilman Dave Strohmaier is now proposing a more complete ban, which would prohibit the use of "hand-held electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle."
Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir said Monday night that officers would issue verbal warnings during the first 90 days of the ordinance and then start handing out tickets.
Half of the fines collected would go to education and signs to make drivers aware of the new law.
Some residents want to go further than the proposed ordinance, with some saying during the council meeting that they want a complete ban on cell phones while driving, even on hands free devices.
Ward 3 Councilman Bob Jaffe wanted to continue discussion on this issue, so the Public Safety and Health Committee plans to continue talking on Wednesday, October 31st, beginning at 2 o'clock.
Only one person stepped up to speak against the proposed ordinance during the meeting.