New Distracted Driving Ordinance

On, November 16, 2015, the Watauga City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the hand held use of wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle.  The City of Watauga felt it was necessary to adopt this ordinance in an attempt to mitigate the potential threat to the health, safety, and welfare of motorists and pedestrians within the City since drivers are at a greater risk of losing control of their vehicles due to manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. 

In an effort to inform and remind citizens and visitors about the new ordinance prohibiting the hand held use of wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle, the City will post signs at each point of entry into the City on Highway 377 and at each point of entry into the City on Watauga Road, Hightower Drive, Starnes Road, Chapman Road, Park Vista Boulevard, and Whitley Road. The City will issue warnings for the ordinance while signs are being placed and officially begin enforcement of the ordinance on, February 1, 2016.   For more information about the ordinance please contact Sergeant Bobby Faglie at (817) 514-5872.

*UPDATE 01/07/2016
We have encountered a delay with the process of receiving our distracted driving ordinance signs to be put up around town. We will likewise delay issuing any citations until after the signs arrive and have been properly posted for a full 30 days, a firm date is not yet available. 

*UPDATE 02/05/2016
Signs are up for our new hands free ordinance, "Watauga is hands free while driving". Chief Fowler has directed Officers to observe a 30 day grace period for violators. Officers may stop violators but only issue warnings at this time. Violations will begin March 7, 2016.



Codified City Ordinance

Click the link below to view a PDF version of the city ordinance

​Distracted Driving Ordinance FAQs

Why has the City of Watauga chosen to prohibit the hand held use of cell phones while driving?
The City of Watauga felt it was necessary to adopt this ordinance in an attempt to mitigate the potential threat to the health, safety, and welfare of motorists and pedestrians within the City since drivers are at a greater risk of losing control of their vehicles due to manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. 

Can I make phone calls while driving in Watauga?
Motorists can make phone calls and communicate while driving as long as they do so hands free

What exactly is hands free?
The use of a mobile device can be used with, for example: a bluetooth hands free device, bluetooth enabled audio systems in a vehicle, a bluetooth speaker phone device, wired earbuds with microphone that allows portable device calls to be made, and more (as long as the use of the portable device remains hands free.

What is strictly prohibited with this new ordinance?
Sending and receiving text messages (some phones are capable of reading text messages out loud, so in some cases receiving a text would not be prohibited), checking Facebook or other social media sights while driving, watching Netflix/Hulu or other video streaming service, and any other app or service that requires the motorist to hold the device and focus on the device rather than the road.

How do I know if I am following the ordinance correctly?
For several years the City of Watauga and surrounding cities (including state law) have prohibited the use of mobile devices in an active school zone. The new ordinance in Watauga mirrors the school zone cell phone prohibited law but expands the area to all public roadways within the City of Watauga and 24 hours a day.

When will the new ordinance be enforced?
The Watauga City Council passed the new ordinance on November 16, 2015. The council requested that enforcement (citations to be issued) not start until February 1, 2016. Watauga Police Officers may stop motorists up to the enforcement date but will not issue citations for the violation until February 1, 2016.  *Due to order delay on sign hardware, citations will not be issued until March 7, 2016.

We have encountered a delay with the process of receiving our distracted driving ordinance signs to be put up around town. We will likewise delay issuing any citations until after the signs arrive and have been properly posted for a full 30 days, a firm date is not yet available. 

How will I be reminded of the ordinance?
The City of Watauga will post signs at each point of entry into the City on Highway 377 and at each point of entry into the City on Watauga Road, Hightower Drive, Starnes Road, Chapman Road, Park Vista Boulevard, and Whitley Road. 

If you have any further questions regarding this new ordinance please contact Sergeant Bobby Faglie at 817-514-5872