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Judge delays Chapel Hill cell phone ban

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TWC News: Judge delays Chapel Hill cell phone ban
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CHAPEL HILL -- Drivers in Chapel Hill won't have to put down their cell phones just yet.

That's because Judge Orlando Hudson granted a temporary injunction due to a lawsuit challenging a slew of new ordinances.

The injunction applies to a ban on all cell phone use while driving -- set to go into effect on June 1 -- and some new towing restrictions that went into effect last week.

"That means the Town of Chapel Hill cannot enforce the cell phone ordinance or the towing ordinance during the pendency of the case," wrote Hudson.

The lawsuit was brought by George King, who owns a local tow truck company. He said the ordinances are conflicting.

"Our cell phone is our business. We have to answer the calls [when] people have a car towed. We have within like 30 mins to respond for them to come pick up the car. You have to be on that phone. You have to be available," said King.

But former Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Capowski, who pushed to get the cell phone ban passed, said the reasons for the ban are important.

"I witnessed a distracted driving accident in front of my house where a UNC student drove her car into another UNC student, a pedestrian," said Capowski.

He said he believes that despite Tuesday's injunction, the main problem still exists.

"What happened in that courtroom this morning did not change the fact that driving while on a cell phone -- whether hands-free or hand-held -- is still very dangerous," he said.

King said he understands the dangers, but thinks there are plenty of other distractions that are just as bad.

"If you stop at a McDonald's or something, and you're eating a sundae going down the road, is that not just as distracting? Are they gonna ban you from going to McDonald's?" said King.

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