Branson considers two new laws for drivers

Published: Mar. 28, 2018 at 9:24 PM CDT
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Two new driving ordinances are in the works in Branson.

One would allow officers to pull you over for not wearing your seat belt, and the other has to do with cell phones and other wireless devices.

Both ordinances were passed at their first reading last night.

Some Branson High School students spoke at the reading, asking for stricter seat belt laws, after five high school students died in the past year in car crashes.

"They spoke from their heart and that really touched me. And to me the seat belt safety law is about safety. If we can save one life, it’s worth it." said Mayor Karen Best.

The seat belt ordinance would change the law from a secondary offense, to a primary one. Meaning officers could pull you over simply for not wearing your seat belt

"​We don’t want it to be ‘don’t go to Branson they are going to pull you over for not wearing your seatbelt." said Best. "'That is not the intent of the law. The intent of the law is to bring it to their attention."

The seat belt fine would remain the same as it is now, 10 dollars.

The other ordinance passed last night was about cell phone use while driving.

"You can not manipulate your cell phone or electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. It is basically making people go hands-free, so they can answer the call if they have bluetooth, or Siri." said Sgt. Stanley Kauffman, with the Branson Police Department.

That means even answering a call and putting the phone up to your ear could result in you getting pulled over.

"That is where “Hey Siri” and "Hey Google” come into play." said Best.

“We would like you as the driver to drive and you can pass on all those responsibilities to the passenger. The passenger can be checking your Facebook or responding to text messages or responding to the emails. We want the driver to be driving." said Kauffman.

If the ordinances pass, that means two more things for officers to look out for.

"Sometimes when they are passing us, we will see them, sometimes its side by side, it all depends how they come across those people." said Kauffman.

"It is all about saving lives for me, and that is what I want our officers to do." said Best.

The second reading for the ordinances will be April 10th.