Does new O'Fallon, Mo. distracted driver law go too far? - KMOV.com

Does new O'Fallon, Mo. distracted driver law go too far?

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Person texting and driving, driving while distracted by smart phone. By Stephanie Baumer Person texting and driving, driving while distracted by smart phone. By Stephanie Baumer

O'FALLON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- O'Fallon, Missouri is looking to do away with a distracted driving law that was just implemented. 

Those supporting the law say it was long overdue, but some drivers say it's pushing restrictions too far. 

"I feel it's a fishing expedition," says St. Charles driver Steve Navarrette. 

The dispute is over Subsection C, which lists a half-dozen examples of what would be considered distracted driving, including putting information into a GPS. 

The city just added the new section onto its ordinance in late October, but drivers are calling for a change in the law. 

"The purpose was to help officers identify some specific example of what might constitute careless and imprudent driving, so if a ticket were issued and someone went to court, it could be tied back specifically to this law," said O'Fallon Communications Director Tom Drabelle. 

Council member John Haman, Jr. was the only one to vote against the change in October and now wants to repeal the law. Haman, Jr. has questioned why a judge would necessarily side with an officer instead of a motorist if there's a dispute. 

"I'm a trained American citizen, who have my rights and it's up to the police officer and the courts to prove me guilty, not me prove myself innocent," said Haman, Jr.

Council member Rick Battell, a former St. Louis County Police Officer, says that officers believe the ordinance could be used against them if they're on their way to a call. Battell says he now supports Haman and would like to see the law repealed. 

Police Chief Roy Joachmistaler says no citation have been written under the new law.

The council could vote on a repeal as early as Thursday, Feb. 26.

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