The statewide ban on hand held cell phones in school zones resumes August 23. The law prohibits drivers from using a cell phone unless they are using a hands free device. The ban includes text messaging.
While the law went into effect last year, a loophole prevented many cities from enforcing the ban. Signs have to be posted warning motorists they are subject to a fine. However, some communities did not have the money to pay for the new signs, and were only able to mete out warning tickets.
This year will be different.
Richardson, for example, has changed all of its signs and will enforce the ban in all 27 school zones.
“We’re not going to go out there and look for specifically using hand held devices.” said Richardson Police Sgt. Kevin Perlich. “Howver if they’re out there enforcing traffic on the speed and they observe that, then it’s very likely it will be enforced.”
With children darting across streets and parents distracted by children in the car, school zones are already dangerous areas. Lawmakers have become increasingly alarmed at the number of school zone accidents by distracted drivers. Text messaging and cell phone use have become big factors. Richardson’s Sgt. Perlich agrees.
“We’ve seen an increase in some of the accidents that are caused by distracted drivers. Sometimes it’s not just the cell phones but other things that distract drivers.”