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Published July 06, 2010, 09:23 PM

City Council Hits Pause on the Texting Ban

The Grand Forks city council did not send its message about texting to drivers- yet. A "texting ban" was not passed at the council meeting Tuesday.

By: Jen Dame, WDAZ

The Grand Forks city council did not send its message about texting to drivers- yet.

City council members spent much of Tuesday's meeting debating what can distract a driver.

For over three weeks the Grand Forks City Council has examined a new ordinance against texting while driving, though it has been approved through the council's Safety Committee, it was not passed tonight.

According to Howard Swanson/Grand Forks City Attorney, "Our advice would be depending on what you are trying to regulate or what type of conduct you are trying to address to be as specific as you possibly can be."

Hal Gershman/ Ward 4: "My preference is that we focus like a laser on driving while texting."

Texting, shaving, putting on make-up and even eating a hard shell taco, those are all things that divided the city council tonight.

"I can read the paper, open my mail, jot some notes, eat a 6 pack and a pound, put on make up, shave and I'm ok," questions Terry Bjerke/Ward 1.

Curt Kruen/Ward 7: "I sure hope we are not putting all that into an ordinance." (That's where you are headed)

"I think it's overkill. I think texting is a problem, do I believe all texting is bad and should be ticketed and the answer would be no," says Bjerke.

"I'm all in favor of this law I just think it is too specific," says Doug Christensen/Ward 5.

While 29 states prohibit texting while driving North Dakota is not one of them. National statistics show that you are more likely to get into an accident if you are texting and driving.

"It's not the person that's doing the texting that's gonna get hurt. It's the 8 year-old that they run over that'll get hurt; on the other hand putting together a more comprehensive ordinance makes sense," says Dana Sande/Ward 6.

Some Grand Forks council members would prefer to have local statistics on the matter, while others feel doing so will only push the matter under the rug, for good.

"If we allow this to keep going without being specific my concern is that nothings going to happen," says Gershman.

Many city council members wanted to change the ordinance to a distracted driving ordinance so... the council voted to send the ordinance back to the Safety Committee for further review.

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