Cell phone users off the hook in Glenwood
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The push for a city ordinance banning drivers from using cell phones has apparently been disconnected.
City attorney Karl Hanlon said the ban could be difficult to draft and enforce and could lead to legal problems.
The Glenwood Springs City Council debated the necessity and importance of such an ordinance during its regular meeting Thursday.
The notion to create an ordinance banning the use of cell phones while driving first popped up during council’s Dec. 4 meeting, when a discussion on traffic offenses on Grand Avenue turned into a rant about people who drive and dial.
While the idea was not entirely dropped Thursday, council members told Hanlon to keep the proposed ordinance low on his priority list.
“Let’s keep in mind we’re a tourist town and we don’t want to be known as the Berthoud of western Colorado,” Councilman Dave Merritt said.
He explained that Berthoud, near Loveland on the Front Range, is known as a “speed-trap” town.
Councilman Larry Emery said while he’d like to see people refrain from talking and driving, the ordinance “won’t eliminate stupidity.”
“I’d just as soon not spend a whole lot of time on this,” Councilman Don Gillespie said. “I think it’s the consensus of council that it’s not that important.”
Councilman Rick Davis still favors the ban.
“I do support it. . There’s national studies that show it’s a problem,” he said.
Hanlon suggested a better way to deal with the problem might be to broaden the definition of careless driving.
“We could rethink how the police department looks at careless driving and how it’s prosecuted in municipal court,” Hanlon said.
Emery said if a cell phone, or any other activity, takes a driver’s attention from the road and causes them to drive poorly, they should be contacted by police.
“Whether they’re eating a hamburger or whatever they’re doing,” he said, “if they’re unsafe, pull them over.”
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