CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt championed the ruling of the state Court of Appeals Tuesday that reversed a previous lower court ruling to strike down Chapel Hill’s ordinances on regulating towing companies.
Kleinschmidt says the court gave the proper authority back to the town regarding towing regulations—but a part of the ruling was also upholding the Town’s total ban on the use of cell phones while driving, which Kleinschmidt said was too restrictive.
He himself voted against a complete ban, electing for a hands free option to be allowed while driving.
“I was on the wrong side of that vote and I think there are others on the council who wonder whether banning hands free is appropriate. I predict it will be revisited in the short term,” he said.
Chapel Hill was the first town in the country to enact a complete ban on the use of cell phones while driving. The town originally adopted the cell phone ban in March 2012.
“But the good news is that for folks that it is a secondary offense—which means people will not get pulled over for driving while talking on the phone,” he explained.
Kleinschmidt says the cell phone ban and towing regulations are almost certain to go into affect by June 24. Court procedure is to issue a mandate 20 days after a ruling in a case, at which point the court’s ruling then becomes law. He says permitting the hands-free option is now up to the council and residents of Chapel Hill.