Austin Police Officers will have to abide by the “Texting While Driving” ban but not really. Police officers will be allowed to email (notice they use email not text) using semantics to avoid a law everyone else will be ticketed for come Friday.
KLBJ radio Austin reported yesterday that in 2009, there were 129 serious crashes in Austin that had cell phone usage as a factor. Interestingly some of the collisions involved Austin police officers.
Austin has had a couple year streak of inappropriate use of technology by its employees from officers watching DVDs in their squad cars to workers surfing pornographic websites on the taxpayers dime. So when the city enacted an ordinance to outlaw texting while driving they added a provision effectively exempting cops.
“There is an exception to the ordinance while an officer within the scope of his duties,” says Stephen Baker. “So, if he’s responding to an email regarding police duties or something of that nature, then there is an exception for that.”
This texting while driving law is redundant as was pointed out in an earlier post, but if you insist on having a law it should be consistent. The APD admits that officers get into accidents due to electronic distractions, so if we are not allowed to answer emails why should officers.
KLBJ Story can be found here