Troy City Council voted 4-3 Monday evening to direct city administration to prepare an amendment to Troy's strict distracted driving ordinance that removes an entire section of the ordinance.
The ordinance was implemented two years ago to help crack down on distracted driving incidents in the City of Troy.
The section council voted to remove reads:
"Any action by the driver of a motor vehicle that diverts his or her attention resulting in the failure to use due care and caution in the safe operation of a motor vehicle while the vehicle is in motion on any highway or street or place open to the general public within the City of Troy. Such action can include but is not limited to: eating, reading, writing, performing personal hygiene/grooming, physical interaction with pets, passengers, or unsecured cargo, any of which is done in a manner that prohibits the driver from maintaining direct physical control of the motor vehicle steering mechanism with at least one hand that is free of all other objects and used entirely to form a controlled grip on the steering mechanism."
Councilman Dave Henderson argued that the ordinance leaves anyone engaged in the above activities open to citation, even if they are not driving dangerously as a result of the activity.
"If I'm swatting a fly, why should I be ticketed?" Henderson asked Monday. He added that the ordinance is "too subjective for police officers to enforce."
Troy Police Chief Gary Mayer said Monday that his officers do not issue citations under the ordinance without a good reason.
"We have a policy not to issue unless there is another violation," Mayer said, adding that the distracted driving ordinance is just "another tool in the police officer's belt."
Councilman Dane Slater sided with Mayer, saying that amending the ordinance only harms Troy Police officers' ability to effectively patrol the city.
"I think you're making a huge mistake," he said.
Mayor Janice Daniels and Councilmen Wade Fleming, Doug Tietz and Dave Henderson voted in favor of preparing the amendment. Slater, Mayor Pro Tem Maureen McGinnis and Councilman Jim Campbell voted against the change.