The town, with a population of 28,600 people, becomes the third municipality in northern Texas to pass such a law.
Drivers in Farmers Branch are now forbidden from using handheld electronic devices to send, receive or write email or text messages while behind the wheel. Social media and posting of pictures and notes is also off-limits under the new ordinance.
Sid Fuller, police chief of Farmers branch, admits enforcement will be difficult. He still supports the law however, believing the new law, combined with an education campaign, may be able to lower the rate of distracted driving around the city.
In 2011, Texas governor Rick Perry vetoed a statewide ban on texting and driving, calling it an attempt to micromanage the behavior of adults.
A new study by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows phones are the root cause of 26 percent of auto accidents in the United States. The vast majority of these accidents happen while talking. Texting is the cause of just five percent of these auto accidents. Research showed that sending texts and talking were both about equally distracting to drivers who were not using a hands-free device. The NSC estimates there have been nearly a quarter-million accidents on American roads so far in 2014 caused by electronic devices.
College students are often among people caught sending text messages while driving. This new law could affect students at Brookhaven and Dallas Christian colleges in the city.
There will be a 90-day grace period after the ordinance goes into effect, during which police will not issue any citations for infractions of the ban. This is being offered in order to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving.