Rollingwood joins other western TravCo cities to ban mobile electronic device usage while driving

The Rules of The Road

The cities of Austin, Bee Cave, Lakeway, Rollingwood and West Lake Hills have each passed ordinances that restrict mobile device use while operating vehicles within the city limits. Drivers who travel from one city to another will experience variations in each city ordinance as they cross municipal boundaries.


Rollingwood City Council approved an ordinance March 6 that bans the use of hand held mobile devices while operating vehicles, including cars and bicycles, within the city limits. The ban went into effect on that day.

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“I’ve had several people ask me why police aren’t enforcing the hands-free ordinance in Rollingwood,” Mayor Pro Tem Sara Hutson said when introducing the idea at a meeting Feb. 15. “It’s because we don’t have one.”

Hutson said she has had some close calls related to drivers using their phones while driving, and she has also seen people texting and on their phones while driving in the park zone.

According to the ordinance, the ban prohibits the use of hand-held wireless communication devices while motor vehicle operators or cyclists are in motion on public roads. Violators of the ordinance can be fined up to $500, it states.

The ordinance states that using a wireless communication device in “hands-free” mode, such as using speakerphone, a phone attachment or an in-car Bluetooth system, is allowed if the driver does not use his or her hands to access the device. Drivers are also allowed to access their devices while at a complete stop, it states.

“Whether you support the ordinance or not, the fact is other cities around Rollingwood have this,” Rollingwood Police Chief Dayne Pryor said.

A hands-free ordinance went into effect in West Lake Hills in March 2015, and ordinances in Bee Cave and Lakeway were enforced starting in July 2015. The city of Austin’s ordinance went into effect in January 2015.

“I’ve seen how devastating accidents can be that were caused by people just looking at their phone,” Pryor said. “Distracted drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.”