Lack of signage delays enforcement of hands-free ordinance


phone signAn ordinance prohibiting use of mobile communication devices while driving in Liberty Hill will not be enforced until the appropriate signage is posted.

The Liberty Hill City Council adopted the hands-free ordinance in February setting an effective date of April 1.

However, the correct signage was not purchased by the City in time for the effective date, officials said.

The City purchased seven smaller yellow signs appropriate for city streets in the downtown area. But the Texas Department of Transportation said the signs, which are 12 inches wide by 24 inches tall, are not appropriate for posting along state roadways. With higher speeds and more traffic volume, the smaller signs would not be visible.

“The standards for state signage are not the same as for public streets,” said City Planning Director Jim Bechtol. “This is something the staff was not fully aware of when the signs were ordered.”

TxDOT requires the signs to be 4.5 feet wide by 5.5 feet tall. The City has now ordered the larger signs, and is still awaiting approval from TxDOT on its request to place the signs alongside all entrances to the city where city limit signs are currently in place.

The City has ordered six of the larger signs for a cost of $200 each. The signs will be installed by city utility employees. City staff say they are unsure as to when the signs will be delivered and when they will be installed.

Chief Financial Officer Amber Lewis said the seven smaller signs were purchased for a total of $215. Funds for all of the signs will come from the City’s Road Maintenance Fund, which is supported by a portion of sales tax revenue.

A violation of the City’s hands-free ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200.