Wednesday December 7th
City of Great Falls Cell Phone Ordinance
City of Great Falls Cell Phone Restrictions
Ordinance 3090, the City's Cell Phone Ordinance, has been in effect since August, 2012. This ordinance restricts the use of hand held communication devices within the city limits while operating a motorized vehicle or bicycle. Users will be able to talk on their phones, while in their car, but must use a hands free device. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you've purchased your hands free device if you plan on talking on the phone while driving.
Ordinance 3146 goes into effect December 1, 2016. This ordinance enhances the penalty provisions of persons who have been found to have committed a violation of OCCGF 10.39.110.
Frequently Asked Questions
Regarding the City of Great Falls
NEW Cell Phone Ordinance
When did the Cell Phone Ordinance take effect?
The City’s Cell Phone Ordinance went into effect on August 2, 2012.
Will I be able to talk on my cell phone in my car once the ordinance is in effect?
The City of Great Falls electronic communication ordinance restricts the use of hand held communication devices within the city limits while operating a motorized vehicle or bicycle. Users will be able to talk on their phones while in their car but must use a hands free device, like a blue tooth in order to do so.
What is a “hands free device?”
A “hands free device” is an external device that connects to a wireless telephone, wireless or electronic communication device that allows you to use your phone without the use of your hands.
Can I text while in my car?
While in a car in the city limits of Great Falls, you’ll only be able text if you are a passenger, or if you are in a parking lane or out of moving traffic.
Where does the ordinance apply?
The cell phone ordinance restricts usage on a public highway (streets) within the city limits of Great Falls.
Who does the ordinance apply to?
Regardless of whether or not you’re a Great Falls resident this ordinance applies to you if you plan to be driving within the City limits. This ordinance applies to residents and visitors alike.
I’ve heard there are some exceptions to driving and talking on a cell phone. What are they?
If you are reporting a health, fire, safety or police emergency you are able to make a phone call while driving. But, if you are stopped by a public safety officer for making the call and are cited, you may be asked to verify that an emergency call was made in court.
The ordinance does not apply to governmental fire agencies, law enforcement agencies, emergency responders and other authorized emergency vehicles.
What if I see someone talking on their phone – should I call in a complaint?
The City of Great Falls Police Department will not be investigating call in complaints. Violations will have to be witnessed by an officer and be officer initiated.
Does this ordinance restrict the use of GPS devices?
This ordinance specifically restricts the use of hand held GPS and navigational devices, such as those found in electronic communication devices (smartphones) that allows for communication to and from the user of the device. It does not restrict the usage of GPS devices that are not hand held and/or mounted or stationery in the vehicle.
Does the ordinance apply to two-way radios?
This ordinance does not apply to those using two-way radios for work purposes or for drivers who hold a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the FCC.
When do the enhanced penalties of the Cell Phone Ordinance take effect?
Ordinance 3146 was adopted by the City Commission on November 1, 2016, and goes into effect on December 1, 2016.
What happens if I get caught talking on my cell phone or texting while driving in Great Falls?
The penalty(ies) for a person who is found to have committed a violation of OCCGF 10.39.110 are:
(a) A first conviction for a violation of Section 10.39.110, shall be punishable by a fine not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).
(b) A second conviction, within 24 months after the first conviction, for a violation of Section 10.39.110, shall be punishable by a fine not less than three hundred dollars ($300.00) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). The Defendant shall further participate in twenty (20) hours of Court approved community service to be completed within ninety (90) days of the date of the second conviction. The Defendant shall provide completion of community service to the Great Falls Municipal Court.
(c) A third or subsequent conviction, within 24 months after the first conviction, for a violation of Section 10.39.110, shall be punishable by a fine not less than four hundred dollars ($400.00) and more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). The Defendant shall further participate in forty (40) hours of community service to be completed within ninety (90) days of the date of conviction. Additional penalties may include forfeiture of license plates of the vehicle, driven at the time of the offense, or forfeiture of the Defendant’s driver’s license for a period not to exceed 180 days, or both.
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