It's been in the news a lot this past year, but back to school has meant that many more cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are jumping on board: Banning cell phone use in school zones to prevent accidents. The first city in Texas to implement the new policy was Highland Park earlier this year. Since then, Dallas, Duncanville, University Park, Flower Mound, Denton, Rowlett, Sachse, Wylie and Irving have all approved the ban in their school districts, and just today, Mesquite approved the ban, adding itself to the growing list.
Because the laws which regulate the speed of motorists fall under the jurisdiction of cities, the bans are voted on and passed by city councils. The bans prohibit the use of handheld cell phones and PDAs, including text-messaging and dialing, however, hands-free devices are still acceptable. If caught, violators usually face a fine up to $200. The bans will hopefully make drivers more careful in areas where many children are present.
But the bans have become rather controversial. Some argue that talking on a cell phone is no different than drinking a cup of coffee, eating a sandwich or applying mascara. Others are curious as to how effectively the bans will be enforced.
Being the parent of an eight-year-old, I understand the importance of the bans and I am happy to know that DFW cities are taking the initiative to prevent car accidents in school zones. According to the City of Fort Worth website, there seem to be no immediate plans of a ban here. We all talk on our cell phones too much as it is. And a little extra precaution to make school zones safer sounds like an excellent idea to me.