Texas passed a law which went into effect September 1, 2009 which makes it illegal to use a wireless communication device in a school zone in Texas. There are some requirements:
There must be a sign at beginning of school zone informing drivers that using a wireless communications device is prohibited and the operator is subject to a fine.
When does the restriction apply? As the school zones are only in effect during specific hours, the same should apply to the cell phone ban.
If you are stopped you can use your cell phone in a school zone or if you are using a hands free device.
You know the law, what do you think about it.
One question is does using hands free really make a difference in your attention to make it acceptable to use in a school zone?
Based upon simulator studies conducted at the University of Utah they determined there was no difference in the cognitive distraction between hand-held and hands-free devices. (National Safety Council) That being the case why should one be banned and the other allowed. Should both be banned? What is the harm in not using your cell phone while driving in a school zone?
Does it really make a difference if you are on a call while driving.
Two studies found that drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a crash while using a cell phone. (1997 New England Journal of Medicine examination of hospital records and 2005 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study linking crashes to cell phone records).
The issue as I see it is that the risk of hitting a child in a school zone and potentially destroying their life as well as your own (could you really forgive yourself if you hit a kid while talking on a phone) is worth putting the phone away for a few minutes.
Let me know your comments.
Also as a follow up to the last blog about texting while driving, try the interactive test at the new york times site:
Next time cell phone messaging and texting – Drivers under 18