Detroit City Council amends proposed hand-held cell phone ban

| 6/5/2006

The Detroit City Council has amended an ordinance that would ban the use of hand-held cell phones within the city limits.

On May 31, the nine-person council voted 8-0 with one abstention to approve the amendment, which changes the ban from a primary to a secondary offense. That means drivers would have to be pulled over first for a primary offense, such as speeding, before they could be ticketed under the cell phone ban.

The original ordinance was approved May 3 by a council vote of 8-1, which banned motorists from using hand-held cell phones while they’re driving, with a fine of $100 attached to it.

The measure must now be approved by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick before it can go into effect.

The ban does not apply to passengers or stationary vehicles, and does not prohibit the use of hands-free devices, such as headsets or speakerphones.

Detroit is not the first city to create such an ordinance. New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, all have similar bans in place.

And, the city of Lawrence, KS, is considering a ban of both hand-held and hands-free cell phones while driving, making it the most restrictive of such laws to emerge to date.