Hands Free Ordinance

Citation Enforcement - Started March 1, 2016

Beginning February 1, 2016, it is be against the law to use a cell phone or other handheld device while driving a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle in San Marcos unless a "hands-free" mode is engaged on the device.

The new law does not prohibit using handheld devices when a vehicle is at a complete stop or when a device is being used to contact emergency responders or police.

No Hands, No Hassle

The San Marcos City Council passed the hands-free ordinance Tuesday on second reading. The ordinance goes into effect February 1, 2016, with a 1-month grace period in which violators will be issued warnings only. Police officers will begin issuing citations March 1, 2016.

Law Restrictions

The new law prohibits:

  • Browsing the Internet
  • Dialing, hanging up, or engaging in a telephone conversation
  • Playing games
  • Typing, reading, or sending text messages
  • Using email
  • Using GPS or other navigation applications
  • Viewing, taking, or transmitting electronic images

Making telephone calls using hands-free functions is allowed, as is using GPS and navigation devices that are attached to the vehicle.

Hands Free Devices Only Sign


The penalty for violating the ordinance is a fine of up to $100 for a first offense; up to $250 for a second offense; and up to $500 for third and subsequent offenses.