As of January 1, 2015, Austin became a hands-free only city. Getting caught talking or texting while driving would be punishable by a fine of up to $500 (police are still free to drive while typing on their laptops while running stop signs and hitting other motorists). However, for the last 21 months, the law was barely enforced, if at all. That changed today.
Mrs. Ttyymmnn called me this morning to say that she was seeing tons of motor officers on I-35 during her commute. It turns out that the cops had rented/borrowed a bus from Cap Metro and they were driving it down the highway, looking into cars, and calling a motor officer if they saw somebody with a phone in their hand. The motor officers would then swoop in and make the bust. I’m all in favor of the law. Heaven knows I’ve seen plenty of people driving obliviously down the road while talking to their friends or updating their Facebook. While this sort of enforcement (arguably, in a traffic setting where traffic is going maybe 5 mph during rush hour) is effective on the day it’s done, it hardly addresses the overall lack of enforcement of the law. It’s a show, complete with the media along for the ride in the bus.