Brentwood getting ready to pass a distracted driving ordinance

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BRENTWOOD, MO (KTVI) - The City of Brentwood, Missouri, is getting ready to pass an ordinance which would make it illegal to look at yourself in the mirror, read or write, or use electronic devices including cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.

Police Chief Dan Fitzgerald said the measure is actually a revision of an existing statute which regulates careless and imprudent driving.

"The biggest thing we're concerned about is the use of phones," said Chief Fitzgerald.  "We see people texting, e-mailing, checking their Facebook pages... all that while they're taking their eyes off the road.  So that's the main emphasis of the ordinance."

Drivers who either live in, or pass through Brentwood were generally in favor of the measure.

One man parked in a van in front of Brentwood High School said, "If it's an ordinance that would make it a safer driving environment for the children, I agree with it."

A woman in the parking lot of the Brentwood Mid-County YMCA said, "I think it should be more on drivers to show responsibility and self-restraint in being distracted and be fully aware of what's going on on the road."

But she also added, "I don't think we need small municipalities governing that."

Another woman said, "It does seem a little... I don't know how you regulate you can't eat or touch the radio, but, overall... better safe than sorry."

Another lady said, "It makes sense to be able to focus more clearly on what people are doing.  Like if you're driving, you're driving; if you're eating, you're eating."

The ordinance does have its critics.  Some people say it's too vague and difficult to enforce.

But Chief Fitzgerald dismisses that notion.

"We think the new amendment makes it less vague, easier to understand," he said.  "As far as a money grab, this is not going to increase our coffers any or add any financial gain to the city."

Fitzgerald said city officials will likely post signs warning drivers the measure is coming before it goes into effect.  Also, he says Missouri is one of the few states without a no-texting law.  He hopes measures like this one will push the legislature toward passing such a measure.